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Wiley College is a four-year, private, historically black, liberal arts college located on the west side of Marshall, Texasmarker. Founded in 1873 by the Methodist Episcopal Church's Bishop Isaac Wiley and certified in 1882 by the Freedman's Aid Society, it is notable as one of the oldest predominantly black colleges west of the Mississippi River.

In 2005-2007, on-campus enrollment approached 450, while an off-campus program in Shreveport, Louisianamarker, for students with some prior college credits who seek to finish a degree, was about 250. As of Fall 2006, total enrollment was about 750. Wiley is an open admissions college and about 96 percent of students receive some amount of financial aid.

U.S. Civil Rights movement

Wiley, along with Bishop College, was instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement in Texasmarker.

Wiley and Bishop students launched the first sit-ins in Texas in the rotunda of the Old Harrison County Courthouse. James L. Farmer, Jr., son of James L. Farmer, Sr., graduated from Wiley and became one of the "Big Four" of the Civil Rights Movement. together with Roy Wilkins, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Whitney M. Young Jr.. They organized the first sit-ins and Freedom Rides in the United States.

Debate Team

An article written about the Wiley College debate team by Tony Scherman for the 1997 Spring issue of American Legacy sparked a renewed interest in the History of the Wiley College debate team.. The success of the 1935 Wiley College debate team, coached by professor and poet Melvin Tolson, was the subject of a 2005 AMS Pictures documentary The Great Debaters, The Real Great Debaters of Wiley College which received heavy play around Texas followed by 2007 movie The Great Debaters, directed by and starring Denzel Washington. In 1935, the Wiley College debate team defeated the reigning national debate champions, the University of Southern Californiamarker. In 2007, Denzel Washington announced a donation of $1 million USD to Wiley so the team could be re-established.

Notable faculty

Notable alumni

James L.
Farmer, Jr.


References

  1. BlackNews.com - American Legacy Magazine's Story The Great Debaters Turns from Pages to the Big Screen Directed By and Starring Denzel Washington and Produced By Oprah Winfrey


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