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Former Langston University Teacher Focus Of New Movie

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A former professor at Langston University, who also served as mayor of Langston, is the subject of a new movie from actor-director Denzel Washington.

``The Great Debaters'' focuses on Melvin Beaunorus Tolson's success as a debate coach in the mid-1930s at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas.

Tolson led the team to national victories against both black and white teams, and inspired future civil rights leaders such as Congress of Racial Equality co-founder James Farmer.

When Tolson left Wiley College several years later, he became a professor at Langston and served three terms as Langston's mayor.

Tolson, who died in 1966, was nominated to the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 2004, which inducted him posthumously.

The Melvin B. Tolson Black Heritage Center at Langston was named in his honor.
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