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Jan. 13 show tells story of first widely recognized Black Catholic priest in the U.S.

A live professional stage production is coming to Milwaukie to relate the life of former slave who became the first Black priest in the U.S. COURTESY PHOTO: SAINT LUKE PRODUCTIONS - Jim Coleman plays the lead part in the dramatization of 'Tolton: From Slave to Priest.'

"Tolton: From Slave to Priest" will be performed at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 13, at Christ the King Church in Milwaukie. The multimedia live drama was written by Leonardo Defilippis who started his company in Beaverton and now lives in Battle Ground, Washington.

Father Augustus Tolton (1854-97) was the first widely recognized Black Catholic priest in the U.S. He had to attend seminary in Rome since none in the U.S. would take him due to his color.

A champion of peace in the post Civil War era, Tolton was so broadly admired in his own day that he is now on the path to sainthood in the Catholic Church and to be the first Black saint in the U.S.

Jim Coleman plays the lead part in the dramatization. A Hollywood film and TV veteran, Coleman was raised by a Baptist minister in Texas.

Coleman is excited and honored to be playing the role of Father Tolton. Prior to his acting career, he served in the U.S. Army as a medic. Having appeared in more than 50 national commercials, he is best known for his role of Roger Parker in the hit Nickelodeon show "My Brother and Me."

"Father Tolton's story needs to be told," Coleman said. "As a Black man, this very important part of history is something that I want the world to hear about. I truly feel blessed to be the one to share Father Augustus Tolton with all who will listen!"

Visit ToltonDrama.com for details.


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