Melvin B. Tolson's Influential Omega Men

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Throughout history there have been many influential Omega men. These men have gone out of

their way to do extraordinary things that have changed the way we look at history. One of these

men who caught my attention is named Melvin B. Tolson. He is known as one of the most

significant African American poets of his time. He was born on February 6, 1898 in Moberly,

Missouri. In 1922 he married his beautiful wife Ruth Southall. Mr. Tolson earned his Bachelor’s

degree in 1924 at Lincoln University, where he was initiated into Omega Psi Phi Fraternity,

Incorporated; also known as the Beta Chapter. Starting from 1924 until 1947 he taught English

and Speech at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. At this school, he was the football coach, play
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On August 29th, 1966 a great educator, leader, perfectionist, and

outstanding Omega man’s life was taken off this earth after he underwent surgery for Cancer.

After his death, his poetry began to be displayed in an exhibit known as the Gallery of Harlem

Portraits at the University of Virginia. Melvin B. Tolson is the epitome of what it means to be an

Omega man, because he possesses the strong characteristics that are known as the Four Cardinal

Principle’s. First being manhood, he accepted all obstacles that were put in front of him no

matter what they were. This man never backed down from anything that was seen as

“Impossible” for a black man, such as becoming a Mayor in the heat of racism. Second being

scholarship, he never allowed himself to shy away from being educated at all times. This was a

man who graduated from Lincoln University with honors and became an educator to engrave his

love for learning into other African-Americans like himself. Third being Perseverance, despite

all the racism at the time he never backed down from his dream. Fourth being Uplift, he took his

time to help African Americans students reach their maximum potential in his free time with

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