I am very slow to catch up on movies and that is evident because I saw "The Great Debaters" only today. Movies that make you go back and search for the real character are really moving. I came across this article in the Marshall Texas messenger http://www.marshallnewsmessenger.com/featr/content/features/greatdebaters/farmer.html?cxtype=rss&cxsvc=7&cxcat=5
The move is directed by Denzel Washington himself and co-produced by Oprah Winfrey. The story made a strong impression on me as I did not hear of this story before. I need to look up Marshall Texas and see if I can find the original transcript of the debate. At least in the movie the Wiley team quotes Gandhi and also the events that lead to the Jalianwala Bagh Massacre . Many websites have said that the debate that made the news was with USC and not Harvard.
I did see if any of the members are still alive but New York Times reports http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/12/us/12wells.html that Henrietta Pauline Bell the last surviving member of the victorious debate team passed away in March of this year.
I salute you Melvin B. Tolson
NPR Review of the movie: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17584622
Good article here : http://www.northalabamaumc.org/news_detail.asp?pkvalue=275