Melvin B. Tolson was born in Moberly, Missouri. He was known for his complex, visionary poetry and was considered one of America’s leading Black poets. His work was influenced by the Harlem Renaissance however Tolson was not a participant in it.
The movie, “The Great Debaters” starring Denzel Washington was based on Tolson’s vibrant career teaching English and speech at Wiley College, in Marshall, Texas. Tolson created the first black debate team to challenge Harvard’s prestigious debate champions. (Sources: poetryfoundation.org and blackhistorydaily.com)