After watching The Great Debaters, I learned that in the art of competitive debate, the color of one’s skin is much less powerful than the message articulated through one’s words. Throughout various states and competitions, Wiley High School’s debate team remained victorious, despite the fact that each of the team’s members, coach included, were African American. Whether the teams they faced were white or colored, the powerful messages spoken by the Wiley team prevailed. When the truth in their arguments was heard, even the most ignorant audience member could do nothing but stand in ovation, applauding the Great Debaters’ passionate and influential arguments. This movie, although contrasting TKAM in many ways, also shared some similarities with Harper Lee’s novel. The film was set in the deep south where racial oppression was rampant, as it was in To Kill a Mockingbird. Interestingly, I saw a connection between Atticus Finch and Melvin Tolson. Both were men passionate about their work, and believed in the fight for equality. They both did great work, yet were under appreciated by the majority of white folks within their hometowns. However, these men both received the support of the African Americans within their communities. I also saw a connection between Scout and Samantha. They both defied the boundaries of their society’s gender roles, following their hearts instead of unwritten rules. The Great Debaters and To Kill a Mockingbird both gave their audiences a glimpse into the daily life of a southern black person during the 1930s.
I do see the similarities between Atticus and Mr. Tolson. I find it amazing that they both kept fighting for what they believed in, even when nobody believed in them. That is a hard thing to do and these two men earned my respect by speaking out against the majority.
I do agree that in debate the color of ones skins is less influential to the outcome compared to what we saw in TKAM. I also think this might be in part because it seems that the racism was worse in places like Maycomb county because it is a smaller community. The smaller towns, and communities seemed to be less progressive in the fight against racism.
I also saw the connection between Atticus and Mr. Tolson because they both taught important lessons and where firm about what they believed.
You can’t help but to love Denzel Washington as Mr. Tolson. It was a fairly intriguing movie to watch. Especially with Tyler by my side😍😂
lol what happens during quarantine stays in quarantine
I learned from watching The Great Debaters, that in a competitive debate, one's race does not quieten their words. Despite the color of the debater, he or she is heard as an equal. This was proven when Mr. Tolson's debate team from Wiley College competed against multiple black and even white schools and were still victorious. The meaning of their words was not reduced because of their color, as Tom's or any other African American's words were in To Kill a Mockingbird. Even though this film contradicted Harper Lee's novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, there were still some similarities. A few of these included both stories being set in the deep south during the hard times of the Great Depression. There was also some racial inequality and injustice seen, although not in the debate. The movie portrayed a negro being lynched and burned by a mob without a trial, and likely for no reason other than his skin tone. This was similar to what happened to Tom Robinson in TKAM. He wasn't given a fair trial and was eventually brutally killed while trying to escape prison. Both stories illustrate the barbaric ways of the South in this time period. It was discouraging for me to grasp the ideas seen in both the novel TKAM and the movie The Great Debaters. I am very glad to see that at least some justice was served at the end of both stories, with the African American win of the competitive debate and the death of Bob Ewell.
Good response, Dakota. I was also glad to see some justice served at the end of these stories. However, the inhumane actions towards the African Americans in both stories can never truly be compensated.
wow!!! I agree with you no matter what your skin color you are you should be treated equal.
I do like how you talked about some similarity's in the plot and story line then proceeded to explain the differences. I agree that there was racism in both film but it was just showcased in different ways.
This was meant to be reply to Dakota James
While both films demonstrated racism in the deep south, it was done in unique ways in the different films. For example in TKAM the racism is in Tom Robinsons trial. Where is he found guilty of a crime that is very arguable that he did not commit. In the other film the great debaters the racism was shown in the world around them like the black man being lynched and the collages that were for whites only. I think both films did a great job at giving different perspectives on racism in the 1930's.
I agree that both stories gave different perspectives on racism. It seems to me that in the South, racism was harsher in rural areas, where lynching occurred and less law was around. Where as in more urban areas, the racism was shown in more political ways, like colleges for whites only.
I found it really interesting also in the unique ways that the racism was displayed throughout the south. Both films I agree did a great job at giving different perspectives of racism in the 1930's.
I agree that there where different perspectives and that the racism was shown in different ways. The man being lynched was a powerful scene in this movie because then the team learned that being black was the only reason he had something so bad happen to him.
I also thought that they did a great job of racism displayed in different ways. It really gives us a feel of how life was like in that time period.
I like how you say that TKAM and The Great Debators are similar but they have their own things.
After watching this movie, I have learned that in competitive debate, the first debater is always for the affirmative and the second for the negative. I did not know previously that some members of the team do the research for the other members who deliver the speech. I thought that each member of the team would be responsible for researching on their own for their own speech. I have also learned that it is not wise to degrade upon yourself while debating. I noticed that a similar theme between this movie and that of To Kill A Mockingbird was the theme of racial injustice.
I also found it interesting that some members of the team do the research for the ones who present it. Racial injustice was a very common theme throughout both To Kill a Mockingbird and The Great Debaters.
I agree that self demeaning on yourself while debating is bad, but also just in general it’s not good for you.
After watching The Great Debaters, I have learned a lot about competitive debating such as the way it is run and the excitement it can stir up. I noticed many similarities between them such as they both took place in the south and both also showed the injustice shown towards African Americans. I learned that debate can be used for good, it helps share messages and opinions in a respectful way that is good for everyone. Debate is a great way to learn and grow your ability to express yourself in a factual way is very important.
I agree that competitive debating does get your heart rate up. It can be intense, and I like how you said "expressing yourself in a factual way," because that is important.
I agree with you on the competitive debating.
It is amazing how kids can feel so strongly about a subject that they fight for what is right. Using words of course.
Learning to debate for the greater good is harder than playing devils advocate. It’s important to know where you stand.
I learned that both sides of the debate are argued and both sides also have good reasons and arguments. I also leaned that it takes preparation and patience to get a good argument together. Some similarities I noticed that both this movie and to kill a mockingbird are that in both stories colored people are being discriminated and aren’t allowed the same privileges as the white people. Towards the end of the movie the debate team goes against two white colleges and that is a big deal I also see that this movie was from the point of view of an older black group other than a young white girl growing up yet the same problems and lessons are brought up.
I agree that both sides of the debate had good reasons and arguments. That's what makes a good debate!
That’s true it would be hard to debate against something you don’t believe in
I enjoy listening to the two sides of the argument and debates are really cool, I really like them.
I noticed watching The Great Debaters that competitive debating takes a long time to prepare and say the right things. One word can mess the whole thing up and change what you were trying to achieve. Similarities between this movie and To Kill A Mockingbird is that they both took place in the South during the Great Depression, and both trials or cases included African Americans. I also noticed that in To Kill A Mockingbird, injustice was not only seen on the streets but as well as in the courtroom, unlike The Great Debaters. Racism and prejudice was a big part of both movies, but in The Great Debaters, justice was seen only in the debate. That would have made Atticus happy.
I also think that their wording and thoughtful thinking was impressive and a huge aspect of winning while debating.
After watching the film The Great Debaters, I have learned quite a bit. I noticed the racism against the African Americans and I also noticed that both of them are in the setting of the south. Debates can be good and bad. Debates really lets you share opinions and your thoughts against whatever the topic is on. Also the competitive debating is really important. You have to watch what you say and say the right thing or its down hill for you.
Yes if you are debating and you say the wrong thing then your words can be used against you. Sounds pretty Intense to me.
I like how you said that competitive debating is important
After watching the film The Great Debaters, I saw how competitive debating worked. I really thought it was fascinating as I have never really heard of it before. I saw some similarities between To Kill A Mockingbird and The Great Debaters. The main one being racism. In both movies the colored people were treated differently. A couple differences though would be how the kids on the debate team were treated as equals when in competition. It was not biased in that manner. They continued to win, showing that they were capable, even if they were colored.
I also thought it was interesting that I had never heard of this movie before. It is a powerful and moving film. And racisim is a definite theme in both stories.
Yeah I’ve never really seen a debate competition either and it was interesting to see. It sure looks like quite the commitment of time, though.
I really enjoyed the film and I also did never hear of it but i’m glad I was able to watch it!
The Great Debators was a touching movie that emphasized the prosecution of African Americans in the south. The movie showed how the colored team was able to perserver through the hardships the were given and they were victorious because of their passion and bravery. The film gave me a deeper understanding of how a collegate debate team is run. Their intellect and passion is what helped these young adults and teenagers become national heros. Some obvious similarities between the stories were the arguments. In The Great Debaters it was the debate team, and in To Kill a Mockingbird it was the Courtroom. Both, at one point or another, were fighting for the rights of the Blacks in the South. There were also similarities in the unlawfull killings and how the more respectable African American man was forced to bow down to the less educated and less honest white man.
Your right I didn’t know much about debate before I saw the movie
Ooooo I didn't notice the similarity of equality in certain places. That is a good point
In addition to offering audiences opportunities to reflect on the ways in which racism permeates human society, the film challenges colleges to provide all students with the fundamental academic experience that is debate. We all value the skills of argument and critical thinking; Debate teaches students to ask questions and seek answers to serious academic questions. But debate skills are not reserved only for exceptional students like Farmer and Sexton. All students should have the opportunity. I don’t really think I would be very good at debate. I don’t really like to argue. I kind of just listen to what everyone else has to say. But I guess debate would be cool to have here in Salmon. Debate seems nice because you don’t need an expensive arena to perform in or a facility to practice in or uniforms to pay for.
Some similarities between this movie and To Kill a Mockingbird are first, the time period in which they occur - during the Great Depression. Secondly, the location - the southern United States where African-Americans are treated as minorities. I think a common theme between the two is the idea of legacy being passed on from one generation to the next. Young people learning the lessons of patience, generosity, and dignity from older characters. Scout and Jem learn from Atticus, Calpurnia, and Aunt Alexandra. Farmer Jr. learns from the older debate students, his parents, and Mr. Tolson.
I really like the comment you made about legacy.
From what hind the great debaters I learned a lot about debate and defending your argument. They are always confident in there speech with good volume and posture. They used a lot of quotes and words from prominent people from past and present. The debate team did a lot of research on the subject they are debating so that if one of their opponents said something unexpected they would know how to answer. It was like to kill a mockingbird in the fashion of racism against blacks and the struggle to give them equality.
Your comment about defending your argument is very accurate. I was surprised by how much defense is required in competitive debate.
After watching The Great Debaters I learned a lot about what actually goes into preparing for each side of the argument and how much research the members put in. The Great Debaters and To Kill A Mockingbird are very similar in there fight for equality theme. Both stories took place in the South where there was little to no respect for people of a darker skin color. Me Finch and Professor Tolson shares very similar personality traits of believing in their work and standing up for what they think is right even if they stand alone.
I saw that connection too! Professor Tolson refused to back down from his work because he believed in it.
After watching the Great Debaters I learned that it is very important to keep a cool composure. Not that you slack off but that you don’t raise your voice and you don’t speak out of turn. Precision with words is very important. Learning how much time goes into looking into both sides was a lot harder than I thought. To Kill a Mockingbird and the Great Debaters also shared the similar racism conflict in a way. Both had to defend the rights of African Americans.
While watching The Great Debaters, I learned many ways of debate and how competitive and important it was. I learned of how much work you have to do and searching to make sure everything is clear and put together, it showed how much time and hard work it really takes, from information, hours of work, and even how you speak and preform in the situation even the little things like the volume of your voice and even the way you stand. This film also showed that the situation you are in can escalate very quick and you need to be ready for any questions. This relates to TKAM, because they both contain racism, and the fight for equality, and are in the Great Depression.
In this film I learned what the activity of debating actually is and I can think of some people that would be good at it. The same pride was manifest by the white people as in TKAM. This was shown in the unfair treatment of the professor. The sheriff thought that he could get away with unlawfully imprisoning him because he was a black man. The most important lesson I noticed that was taught by this show is the importance of words to a situation. Regardless of your race or status in the world, if your words are powerful you can create a name for yourself.
I never picked up on words being important as a common theme. I totally agree with it
After watching Great Debators I learned how debates actually work and what you need to know. The Great Debators and To Kill a Mockingbird are similar in that they are about racial inequality. Also Scout and Sam have similarities, and Atticuss and Mevlin. They are also both in the deep south. And both have bad people trying to hurt them.
Competitive debating would be really fun I think. I love thinking about deep questions and I can often very easily argue both sides of an argument. There are many minor common themes between this movie and To Kill a Mockingbird. These include the importance of respect even in conflict as well as change requiring action.
I agree debating is fun we should make a debate team
I already knew quite a bit about debate because of my sister, she was on a debate team in high school and she was really good. I really liked this movie because i like debate and i was thinking of maybe even trying to start one for our school. Some similarities that I found between The Great Debaters and To Kill a Mockingbird are all of the racial injustices found in them. It is clear that black people are neither liked or respected in either of these.
This movie made me realize how scary living as a black person at that time was. The scene where the man was hung and burned really effected me. I knew that this happened in that time period, but it had never really hit me that hard. I never realized how barbaric it was. I half expected them to loose the debate because they were black. Fortunately, they won, which kinda came as a surprise to me because you'd expect the judges, who are white, to not let them win.
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