Wednesday, December 5, 2007

you just can't say you won

Today's New York Times looks at Wiley College, home of "The Great Debaters" team described below, and how it has fallen on hard times until the advent of the movie. The article notes a poignant detail left out of the movie:
...even though they beat the reigning champions, the Great Debaters were not allowed to call themselves victors because they did not belong to the debate society, which did not allow blacks until after World War II.
You can go here to see a reprint of a Wiley College photo of some of the original debate team; unfortunately, it does not include the lone female member, Henrietta Bell Wells.