James Farmer Jr.: The Great Debater provides a rhetorical and biographical guide to how the American Civil Rights Movement came into being. It details James Farmer Jr.’s intellectual emergence as a young debater at an HBCU in Marshall, Texas and ultimately chronicles how this led to the emergence of the first non-violent sit-in against segregation in 1942 in Chicago. Farmer was a key founder of the Congress of Racial Equality [CORE] that pioneered the non-violent strategies that would later be used by Martin Luther King. He debated important figures like Malcolm X to provide a powerful advocacy grounded in the praxis of argumentation. Ben Voth demonstrates the ongoing relevance of Farmer’s successful debate methodology in resolving contemporary race problems in the 21st century such as Black Lives Matter.
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