The Great Debaters is a biopic period drama movie directed by and starring Denzel Washington & produced by Oprah Winfrey and her production company, Harpo Productions. It is based on an article written about the Wiley College debate team by Tony Scherman for the 1997 Spring issue of American Legacy.
Based on a true events, the story is about the efforts of debate coach Melvin B. Tolson (Denzel Washington) at historically black Wiley College. His mission is to place his team so that they become equal with whites in the American South, during the 1930s, when Jim Crow laws were common and lynch mobs were a constant fear for black people. In the film, the Wiley team in the end tries to succeed to the point where they can be able to debate Harvard University.