Melvin B. Tolson Quotes in The Great Debaters (2007)
Melvin B. Tolson Quotes:
Melvin B. Tolson: Who is the judge?
Samantha, Henry Lowe, James Farmer Jr., Hamilton Burgess: The judge is God.
Melvin B. Tolson: Why is he God?
Samantha, Henry Lowe, James Farmer Jr., Hamilton Burgess: Because he decides who wins or loses. Not my opponeent.
Melvin B. Tolson: Who is your opponent?
Samantha, Henry Lowe, James Farmer Jr., Hamilton Burgess: He does not exist.
Melvin B. Tolson: Why does he not exist?
Samantha, Henry Lowe, James Farmer Jr., Hamilton Burgess: Because he is a mere dissenting voice of the truth I speak!
[Samantha just slapped Henry hard across the face]
Melvin B. Tolson: Resolved.
Melvin B. Tolson: I and every professor on this campus are here to help you to find, take back, and keep your righteous mind... because obviously you have lost it.
Melvin B. Tolson: We're holding tryouts for the debate team.
Henry Lowe: You sure you want somebody like me?
Melvin B. Tolson: No. That's why you're trying out.
Melvin B. Tolson: Take the meanest, most restless nigger. Strip him of his clothes in front of the remaining male niggers, female niggers, and nigger infants, tar and feather him, tie each leg to a horse facing an opposite direction, set him on fire, and beat both horses until they tear him apart in front of male, female and nigger infants. Bullwhip and beat the remaining nigger males within an inch of their life. Do not kill them but put the fear of God in them, for they can be useful for future breeding. Anybody know who Willie Lynch was? Anybody? Raise your hand. No one? He was a vicious slave owner in the West Indies. The slave-masters in the colony of Virginia were having trouble controlling their slaves, so they sent for Mr. Lynch to teach them his methods. The word "lynching" came from his last name. His methods were very simple, but they were diabolical. Keep the slave physically strong but psychologically weak and dependent on the slave master. Keep the body, take the mind.
Melvin B. Tolson: Denigrate. There's a word for you. From the Latin word "niger", to defame, to blacken. It's always there, isn't it? Even in the dictionary. Even in the speech of a Negro professor. Somehow, "black" is always equated with failure.
Ruth Tolson: [hands Tolson a letter] Here, this came. Go on, open it.
Melvin B. Tolson: [noticing the broken seal] Hmm, looks like someone already opened it.
Ruth Tolson: [smiling mischievously] Not me.
Melvin B. Tolson: We'll be one of the first Negro colleges to ever debate a white college. If we beat them, we beat the best.
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