Washington stars and also directs the the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school's first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship.
Set against the backdrop of the Jim Crow South and inspired by a true story, The Great Debaters chronicles the journey of a brilliant but volatile coach (Denzel Washington) who uses the power of words to shape a group of underdog students from a small, modest black college in East Texas into an elite debate team while challenging the social mores of the time, culminating with a groundbreaking invitation to debate Harvard's championship team.
The Great Debaters was released December 25th, 2007 and stars Denzel Washington, Nate Parker, Jurnee Smollett-Bell, Denzel Whitaker, Jermaine Williams, Forest Whitaker, Gina Ravera, John Heard. The film is directed by Denzel Washington.