Denzel Washington Forest Whitaker Jurnee Smollett Kimberly Elise Denzel Whitaker Gina Ravera Chuck Slavin Jermaine Williams Nate Parker Russell Woron-Simons Glen Powell Jr. J.D. Evermore Marcus Lyle Brown Misty Lockheart Emily Griffin Damien Leake Bonnie Johnson Tim Parati Chuck Vail Ritchie Montgomery Breon Pugh Eric Kelly McFarland Ed O'Keefe Heath Stewart Justice Leak Sean Paul Cormier Brian D. Evans Cory Patt Charissa Allen Steve Flynn Josh McBride Todd Poudrier Joel B. Hayden Terry Milam Robert X. Golphin Antravian D. Carter Brad Watkins Samuel Elliott Whisnant Michael Kelly Ryan Shibley Ron Auguste Alan Resnic Robert Masiello Michael Beasley
Based on the true story of Mel Tolson, considered one of the great African American poets and in the 1930's a professor at the historically black Wiley College in Texas. Washington will also play Tolson, who inspired his students to form the college's first debating team, which went on to defeat Harvard in national championships. They had a young 14-year-old freshman on the team by the name of James Farmer, Jr., who labors in the shadow as a son of a distinguished professor at Wiley College. James's father was the 1st Negro Ph.D in Texas and speaks seven languages. It is apparent he comes from a well-educated family, when he begins college at the young age of 14. Whitaker will play the father of one of the students, who finds himself competing with the debate coach for the loyalties of his son.