In Strategy & Soul, Strategy & Soul Film Showing, The Labor Community Strategy Center

Strategy & Soul Thursday Night Revolutionary Organizing Film & Book Club


The Great Debaters

Followed by a Class on Debating Strategies and a Live Debate!

with Akunna Uka director of the New Roads Debate Team

and Eric Mann Cornell University Debate Team

February 1, 2024 6pm

Strategy & Soul Theater

3546 w Martin Luther King Blvd. Los Angeles CA 90008

The Strategy and Soul Thursday Night Revolutionary Organizing Film & Book Club is proud to begin the year with the Film showing of the Great Debaters.

The Great Debaters is a brilliant political film. It is the story of the Wiley College (HBCU), Marshall Texas, debate team initiated and coached by Melvin B. Tolson (Denzel Washington) a college professor by day and a communist organizer of sharecroppers by night. The core narrative is the story of the greatest debate team in U.S. history and the finale of the film is Black Wiley’s debate with white Harvard for the national championship. Screenplay by Robert Eisele based on the article by Tony Sherman, it has a sensational  cast. (Trying to limit my superlatives but it’s hard.) The debate team—Samantha Book, a Black woman in 1935,, played by Jurnee Smolett, Henry Lowe (Nate Parker) James Farmer Jr. (Denzel Whitaker) and Rev. James Farmer Sr. (Forest Whitaker). I’ll expand this description review as we get closer to the February Film Showing but what a great film about the cultural, political, gender, and class unity and struggle inside the Black community, the role of intellect and debate in training the mind, and shockingly, a film that shows a communist in such an attractive light. Although no matter which character Denzel Washington plays is phenomenally attractive. Join us for  a great film, evening, and a debate with Akunna Uka and myself—who will be debating but are on the same team.

Eric Mann


6PM Welcome & Refreshments

Welcome to Strategy and Soul theater and welcome back Strategy and Soul Thursday Night Revolutionary Organizing Film & Book Club members. We’ll have refreshments and time to mee the whole team before the film.

Parking is available in the lot behind Strategy and Soul as well as plenty of street parking.

Metro Buses to get to Strategy & Soul: 40, 210, 105, 102, Metro K-Line. LADOT Dash Lines: Leimert/Slauson, Crenshaw, Midtown

6:30 pm Film Showing: The Great Debaters

Based on the true story about Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school’s first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship. The film shows the role that the Communist Party played in Black Politics.

8:30 pm A Lesson on Debating Strategies and a Live Debate with Akunna Uka and Eric Mann

Eric and Akunna both served as members of or teachers of debate. The will speak about some of the basic principles of debate then proceed to debate each other on the spot.

9:30 pm Reception

Hang around, meet cool people, you might even be one.