Founded in 1873, Wiley College was named after Bishop Isaac Wiley of the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1882, Wiley became the first college west of the Mississippi River certified by the Freedmen’s Aid Society. In 193, Wiley College’s debate team, coached by Melvin Tolson, made headlines when it defeated the University of Southern California’s national championship team, a feat that inspired the film “The Great Debators” (2007). One member of the team, James Farmer, Jr., assisted in founding a major civil rights organization, the congress of Racial Equality (CORE). In 1960, students from Wiley and Bishop colleges held sit-ins at the Woolworth’s and Fry Hodge stores in downtown Marshall.