Nate Parker
Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images for NAACP Image Awards

Most film and history buffs know Wiley College as the setting for the film The Great Debaters. But now the HBCU in East Texas will be known for having The Birth of a Nation’s Nate Parker as the creator of the college’s film and drama school.

Parker announced the launch of the new school Sunday and is paving the way for students attending the college who are interested in film and drama careers.

“The hope is that we cover all aspects of filmmaking, from sound, lighting and cinematography to just studying film specifically with the cultural component and the history of film,” Parker said.

“You control the moving picture, you control the masses. So really getting them rallied around the idea of reclaiming the narrative of America, specifically through the eyes of people of color,” Parker continued.


The first classes will be offered in the fall, but 30 lucky high school and college seniors get to test out the program during a nine-day summer institute.

This is a huge step and should be applauded. How many other Hollywood people can say they started their own school at a college?

By the way, you’ll be able to hear Wiley College’s choir perform in the upcoming release of Parker’s The Birth of a Nation.