Melvin Beaunorus Tolson was an American poet, educator, columnist, and politician. As a poet, he was influenced both by Modernism and the language and experiences of African Americans, and he was deeply influenced by his study of the Harlem Renaissance.In addition to teaching English, Tolson used his high energies in several directions at Wiley. He built an award-winning debate team, the Wiley Forensic Society, which became a pioneer in interracial collegiate debates. Beginning in 1930, the team debated law students from the University of Michigan in Chicago; then, in 1931, it participated in the first known interracial collegiate debate in the South, against Oklahoma City University. During their tour in 1935,