Tolton: From Slave to Priest

Multimedia Production Tells the Story of America’s First Black Priest

Thursday, September 29, 2022

Period Photo of Fr. Augustus Tolton (courtesy of Luke Productions brings its powerful multi-media live production of Tolton: From Slave to Priest, to Benedictine College on Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022, in O’Malley-McAllister Auditorium. Filled with music, drama and inspiring performances, Tolton will be available at both a matinee performance at 2 p.m. and an evening performance at 7 p.m. Don’t miss this captivating story of Fr. Augustus Tolton, American’s first black priest. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. (This event is suitable for ages 10 and up.)

Born to slaves in Missouri, Augustus Tolton would go on to become the first black Catholic priest in America. But his journey started with his mother, Martha. As the Civil War raged around them, she and her young family slipped away in the night to make their way to freedom in Illinois. They were able to make it 20 miles to the Illinois-Missouri border, but there they faced the vast Mississippi River.

Martha prayed for a miracle, and God provided. When the family reached the river, she found a dilapidated rowboat and a single oar. With bullets from Confederate soldiers whizzing by, she rowed to freedom. Through Martha Tolton's courage, determination, and devout Catholic faith, the first African American priest was given to the people of God. His story is amazing and inspiring, and everyone should hear it.

Jim Colema as Fr. Augustus Tolton. (courtesy of title character is portrayed on stage by Jim Coleman. Having appeared in more than 50 national commercials, Coleman is best known for his role of Roger Parker in the hit Nickelodeon show My Brother and Me.

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. It has a mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.