December 13, 2007
DENZEL WASHINGTON PORTRAYS LINCOLN UNIVERSITY
IN UPCOMING MOVIE, “THE
UNIVERSITY, PA ~ Two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington
portrays Lincoln University graduate Melvin B. Tolson in “The
Great Debaters,” a film that depicts Tolson’s
unerring mentorship and will hit theaters on Dec. 25.
who graduated with honors from Lincoln University in 1923,
coached a debating team to a national championship when the
nation was intensely segregated. Aside from his career as
debating team coach, Tolson became a distinguished author,
poet, college professor and public servant.
very pleased that Tolson is getting recognition for his amazing
feats,” said Dr. Ivory V. Nelson, president of Lincoln University. “He
is another in a long list of Lincoln graduates who have made their mark on
The movie is the product of the collaboration
of two giants in the industry. Washington also directs the
movie and Oprah Winfrey is its producer.
The movie, nominated
for a Golden Globe Award for Best Drama, focuses on the debaters
from historically black Wiley College in Marshall, Texas.
It highlights the instrumental role Tolson played in preparing
the debaters for their stunning victory over the University
of Southern California for the national championship.
Tolson’s biography indicates that he was born in Moberly,
Mo. and taught at Wiley College from 1924 to 1947. He moved
to Langston University of Oklahoma, where he also had a stint
as a three-term mayor of the city.
He is credited with mentoring
civil right activists James L. Farmer and Heman Sweatt during
his tenure at Wiley. One of his students at Langston University
was Nathan Hare, the black studies pioneer, who became the
founding publisher of The Black Scholar.
Tolson, a prolific
writer, is the author of “Dark Symphony,” “Libretto
for the Republic of Liberia,” and “A Gallery
of Harlem Portraits.”
Tolson was the recipient of an
honorary degree in 1954 and 1965 from Lincoln University
and he was additionally recognized on campus with a literary
organization named after him.
Founded in 1854, Lincoln
University is a premier, historically Black University that
combines the best elements of a liberal arts and sciences-based
undergraduate core curriculum and selected graduate programs
to meet the needs of those living in a highly technological
and global society. The University is nationally
recognized as a major producer of African Americans with undergraduate
degrees in the physical sciences (biology, chemistry and physics);
computer and informational sciences; biological and life sciences. Lincoln
has an enrollment of 2,423 undergraduate and graduate students.
University of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
1570 Baltimore Pike, P.O. Box 179, Lincoln University, PA 19352 \