Wiley College, located in Marshall, has a number of connections to fame. Most recently, the movie “The Great Debaters” brought the success of Wiley’s debate team to the attention of millions. As the Dallas Morning News reported the movie reminded the campus of its history and launched a revival of the debate program. In the fall of 2008 an 11-member team started debating again thanks in part to more than a million dollars in donations (including a million from Denzel Washington who directed and starred in the movie).
James L. Farmer Jr. is one of the most famous alumni of the Wiley College debate team. Farmer co-founded the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE) and was a pioneer of the Civil Rights Movement. His legacy is discussed in a little more detail in another blog entry.