Melvin B. Tolson
[ 1898-1966 ]

A Selection of Theater Programs

from the Melvin B. Tolson Papers
at the Library of Congress Washington D.C.

The programs below show that Tolson fulfilled the intent of the Dust Bowl Dream. From Sartre and Ibsen to Langston Hughes and Lorraine Hansberry, the Players brought mainstream hits to their audiences, as well as the promised 'home-grown' theater with plays written by Tolson himself. His adaptation of "Fire in the Flint" by Walter White was performed at the NAACP convention of 1952. The text of three of his own plays can be found via our
Tolson Issue, FlashPoint #14.

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by Henrik Ibsen

May 8, 1950

Phi Psi Chapter
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
The Dust Bowl Players
Langston University

The Heiress
Ruth Goodman Goetz
& Augustus Goetz

May 7, 1951

The Dust Bowl Players
Langston University

The Ghost Train
by Arnold RIdley

May 16, 1954

The Dust Bowl Players
Langston University

The Ghost Bird
by Neil E. Schaffner


The Dust Bowl Players
Langston University

Three Religious Plays
"The Answer"
"Winter Sunset"
"Sunshine Lady"
March 5, 1951
The Dust Bowl Players
The Mt. Sinai Players

No Exit
by Jean-Paul Sartre
(adapted by Paul Bowles)

May 27, 1955

The Dust Bowl Players
Langston University

The Dust Bowl Players
Present the World
Off-Broadway Premiere of

Simply Heavenly

November 5th, 1955

Lyrics: Langston Hughes
Music: David Martin

Langston University

Lost Horizon
by Anne Coulter Martens & Christopher Sergel

May 20, 1961

The Dust Bowl Players
Langston University

Dial "M" for Murder
by Frederick Knott

May 26, 1962

The Dust Bowl Players
Langston University

A Raisin in the Sun
by Lorraine Hansberry

May 24, 1963

The Dust Bowl Players
Langston University

from the Dust Bowl programs:

The Dust Bowl Dream

       The Negro's place in the field of drama has been under the shadow of Old Jim Crow. Where is the black Eugene O'Neill? The Anton Chekov? The J.M. Synge? Until that question is answered the Negro people shall not have reached intellectual maturity in America. The theater is the caviar of a people's culture.

       Sterling Brown says: "Only one Negro play of complete Negro authorhsip has had a Broadway run."

       So the Dust Bowl Players will entertain you with hits from the Great White Way. Later on, they hope to give you some genuine Negro drama made at home. You remember what Paul Green and the Carolina Players did at Chapel Hill - how they caused the critics and the tophats to look in that direction? Well, out here in the Dust Bowl some Negro playwrights and actors and theatergoers are going to "let down their buckets where they are."

       And we won't be alone! There is a drama renaissance in Negro colleges like Dillard, Florida A & M, Fisk, Tuskegee, Tennessee State, Lincoln, Howard.

       Since we must start from scratch, you dear patron, will have to help us scratch! So a merry evening to one and all!