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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z. Vol. 1, No. 14 July 6, 1938

Negro Debaters

page 3

Negro Debaters

Nearly twelve hundred enthusiastic and appreciative Aucklanders, including members of the Consular Corps headmasters of the local schools, and representatives of organizations throughout the city, listened to the debate between the Le Moyne College representatives (U.S.A.) and a team from A.U.C. The frequent applause, and the laughter, which occasionally rose to a crescendo, told its own story of the fluency of the speakers and their witty sallies. The two negroes, Messrs. Gillton and Byas, can fairly be regarded as masters of this type of debating. Each of them gained immediate favor with the large audience by their penetrating humor; and this, combined with their eloquent exposition of their motion—"That continued world peace is impossible and undesirable"—made the debate one that will not readily be forgotten. Auckland's representatives, Messrs. Braybrooke and George, though more serious, impressed the audience with their ability.

The Opening Speakers.

Mr. Byas pointed out that his motion did not indicate an attitude of militarism; he said that new Zealanders and his own people "are part of the two greatest peace loving democracies of the world," But he state of the world to-day was more detrimental than a purging world war would be.

He painted a vivid picture of the rapid deterioration of civilisation. He stressed he similarity between conditions to-day and in 1914, and suggested that once more the war-cycle had been almost completed.

Mr. Braybrooke, in an admirable attacking opening, spoke of the futility of wars, of their horror and bloodshed, and the fact that they brought gain to none of the warring nations. He then stated that the only nations anxious for war could be Germany, Italy and japan, but their financial and other resources, and their internal problems would cause them to put he thought of a world war aside.

Furore of Laughter.

Mr. Gilton did little for several minutes but watch the audience rocking with laughter at his witty retorts to Mr. Braybrooke and his own colleague (who had "handed out a few slams" at his expense).

He finished by recalling Mr. Braybrooke's remarks regarding Italy's desire for peace in view of her financial troubles. He said, "the speaker didn't mention what sort of peace Italy wants; she has already got a piece of Africa (laughter); but Mr. Braybrooke said she wanted war too....?

He described the present "peace" in Spain and China and the recent peace of Abyssinia where "Mussolini sent his missionaries to civilise the country. And the funny thing was that when that peace arrived the people suddenly started dying like flies."

Mr. George insisted that if only the peoples of the earth were agreed, here would be no war. He deplored the regimentation of thought and custom during war, the stultified thought that resulted and the withholding of truth from the newspapers. He asked for more time to be spent on construction and less on the destructive side of science.

Mr. Braybrooke replied with assurance, attacked all points with decision, and seemed to convince the audience of his belief in his remarks. "We owe a duty to our own nations." he said, "but we owe a greater duty to civilisation."

When Mr. Gilton rose to reply, one felt doubtful as to his ability to combat Mr. Braybrooke's devastating at tack, but he appealed once more the humour of the audience. And at times almost laughed his opponents off the platform.

No decision was taken, and the two teams left the platform to the prolonged applause of he audience. The whole debate was an unqualified success, and he local committee, and N.Z.U.S.A. Deserve the congratulations and appreciation of every student.