Posted by: txaggiechick | August 25, 2008

The Great Debators

This weekend, I had the opportunity to chill with my brother and his wife. We decided to watch a movie. After what seemed like hours scrolling through the movies on demand, we selected The Great Debators, a movie about the Wiley College Debate team in 1935. What was startling to me was not only the compelling story but the setting. It was set in 1935 in Marshall, Texas which at that time was under the Jim Crow Laws. After watching the drama, we googled Marshall, Texas which is close to Longview, TX and near the Louisiana border. What is hard to imagine is these people existing another 30 years under the Jim Crow Laws. It’s a little hard to imagine, at least for me.

The good things about the movie were a reminder of what it was like to do research in a library with books. It was a good reminder about the level and quality of education and how that can positively influence your life. Plus I loved all of the references and quotes. It was also cool to get a glimpse of a life that is a little more simple. And by that I don’t mean to condone the central themes of the movie but to be reminded how much more social the people are in a time without the internet, crazy workaholic jobs, and ‘advanced’ technology. Makes me want to move to a small town and never turn on a computer again.

What I didn’t expect was the tear-jerker emotional responses during the debates. It certainly enunciated the relevance of personal testimony to influence decisions. By personalizing their debate topics, they certainly were able to paint a more realistic picture. In today’s world it’s a little harder to imagine the world that existed only 50 years ago. And yet, I wonder how much different the world is today at all. For example in South Africa, while there aren’t any Jim Crow laws, there’s a huge racial dichotomy which I doubt will ever be rectified without continued education and racial and personal growth. The only thing that I really know is that I can’t wait to see how the world changes in the next 50 years. Hopefully it will be for the better as we learn from past injustices. We’ll see. Should be an exciting time.

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