“The Great Debaters” Movie Event at CHS


The Great Debaters Informational Flyer

The Cinnaminson High School Equity committee along with the Cinnaminson Education Association hosted a “movie night at CHS” on Monday, Feb. 28, presenting the movie “The Great Debaters” in celebration of Black History Month. Around 40 students showed up at the free event. Attendees received a mask and a snack bag containing popcorn, Rice Krispie Treats, water, and juice.

The premise of the film is that in 1935, in Marshall, Texas, at Wiley College, poet and professor Melvin B. Tolson decides to start a debate team. He forms a team of young intelligent and strong-minded students. They become the first black debate team to challenge the prestigious Harvard’s champion debate team.

The movie was actually based on the real-life events of the 1935 Wiley College debate team. Although the movie took some creative liberties, the core of the movie remained authentic. Hobart Jarret, Henry Heights, and James Farmer Junior were the members of the debate team at the time. They were pioneers in the world of debate, and they did actually beat the reigning champions, although in real life the champions were the University of Southern California and not Harvard.

Ms. Kim Mauroff, a co-chair of the Equity and Inclusion Committee along with Ms. Monique Bouggess, planned the event for members of the community.

“The goal was to highlight HBCUs and black history, even though it isn’t local history, especially during Black History Month,” Mauroff said.

Sophomore James Smith attended the event and brought his younger brother to view the movie as well.

“I thought it would be good to support something the school was doing for black history,” Smith said.