Hall of Fame Member Biographies

Melvin B. Tolson

Melvin B. Tolson was born in Missouri in 1898, attended Fisk University and graduated from Lincoln University in 1923. He earned an M. A. degree at Columbia University in 1931. He came to Langston University as professor of English and Rhetoric in 1947. A Master Teacher, rhetorician, philosopher and poet, Tolson inspired generations of Langston students through his scholarship. He moved among the great writers of his age, wrote several books of poetry, served as Mayor of Langston for four terms beginning in 1954, and was named Poet Laureate of Liberia in 1947. Tolson retired in 1964, and died of cancer in 1966. One of Oklahoma’s treasures, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame in 2004.