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Actor gives $1 million to re-establish debate team

Associated Press

Denzel Washington is donating $1 million to Wiley College to re-establish its debate team.

The gift was announced Tuesday by school officials.

Washington was in Marshall, Texas, last week to screen "The Great Debaters," the story of Wiley’s 1930s debate team. He stars as educator and poet Melvin Tolson, who led the all-black college’s elite debate squad.

During his appearance, the 52-year-old actor-director said he would like to see the team get going again.

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"This is where it started," Washington said at the screening. "You can feel it. These are real people. It’s a small-town story. I’ve done a few screenings of this movie, but this is the best one."

Marshall is a city of about 24,000, located 140 miles east of Dallas. Wiley has about 900 students.

"The Great Debaters" opens Christmas Day. It has been nominated for a Golden Globe Award for best picture drama.

On the Net:

www.thegreatdebatersmovie.com

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