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Why was it so important to Professor Tolson that the Wiley College debate team get an invitation to debate against Harvard?

 

TO ACCESS A FREE VERSION OF THE MOVIE: 

Go To: Google > in the search type –  the great debaters full movie –  > in the “watch movie” box look for and click on the round black/red icon TUBI > the movie should start immediately. Each question answered is worth 10 points each. If a question has multiple parts, you must answer all parts of the question to receive full credit for that question.

For all responses to this assignment, take into consideration your input for Part l Character Convictions for each of the five major characters.

We may debate these, so, be prepared to debate your position. 

 QUESTIONS: 

1. Professor Tolson saw something in each member of the debate team and worked to show them their true potential. Who or what helps you to seek your true potential?

2. Professor Tolson pointed out to his students that many black people during this time were born without birth certificates. What do you think it would be like if you were “born without record” ?

3.  What was the relationship like between James and his father? How did the fact that his father was a preacher and a professor affect him?

4. James was constantly trying to gain the approval of his father. Did he ever receive this approval from him? Have you ever worked to gain the approval of someone? Was it worth the time and energy? Explain.

5. Why was it so important to Professor Tolson that the Wiley College debate team get an invitation to debate against Harvard?

6. Professor Tolson wrote the arguments for all the debates while the students researched them. Do you think that was the right thing for him to do? How did it impact their preparation for the Harvard debate?

7. How did the stress of competing at Harvard affect the team? Think about a time when you were involved in a group project, much like the team preparing for the debate. What was your role? Did you do more or less than your team members? How did you feel about that? How did your other team members feel about your level of participation? Did you receive a good grade?

8. Both Samantha and Henry temporarily deserted the team during the debate season. How did that affect the team? Should they have been allowed to return? Have you been impacted in a group by someone who walked away without concern for the team as a whole?

9. How did Professor Tolson’s involvement in the organization of the unions affect the debate team? Was it fair? Should he have done anything differently?

10. Henry shared how he bounced in and out of school from time to time. What keeps students in school? Why do you think some students do not stay to finish school? What are you doing to make sure you stay on the path to graduation from College?

11. Samantha Booke was one of the few black women to attend college during the time of this movie 1930’s. What do you think were some of the challenges for her?

12. Professor Tolson put Samantha on the spot during tryouts for the debate team. Have you ever been in a similar position? How do you handle being challenged? How do you like to challenge others around you?

13. When Henry became involved with Samantha, James became very upset. How did that affect their relationship and their teamwork? Have you ever been in one of these positions? How did you handle it?

14. Hamilton Burgess left the debate team because he did not agree with the work Professor Tolson was doing with the unions. What made him come to this decision? How did his decision affect the team? What would you have done in his position?

15. What impact did the viewing of the lynching have on the members of the team? Did they do the right thing by fleeing the scene or should they have stayed to stand up for the man who was lynched like Henry wanted to do?

16. Why do you think Professor Tolson got involved in working with the Southern Tenant Farmers Union? Why was he trying to get them to come together? What were the risks? What were the benefits? What would you have done?

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