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The Free Southern Theater and the Black Arts Movement

Originating as a community theater group based in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1963, the Free Southern Theater (FST) became a cultural arm of the Civil Rights Movement. Upon moving to New Orleans in 1965, the FST became a major influence on Black Theater, both locally and nationally. As part of a community-wide celebration honoring the 50th anniversary of the founding of the FST, this exhibition highlights the struggles and triumphs of the Theater and its place within the Black Arts Movement of the 1960/70s. The FST story, as well as that of the Black Arts Movement, is told through photographs, play scripts, programs, books, literary magazines, flyers, and more.

This digital exhibition is based upon the exhbition entitled "The Free Southern Theater and the Black Arts Movement" held at the Amistad Research Center in New Orleans from January 6-April 25, 2014. The digital version was created by the Amistad Research Center and is hosted by the Tulane University Digital Prepositorty. For more information, contact the Amistad Research Center at or (504) 862-3222. 


Curated by Felicia Render, Christopher Harter, Andrew Salinas, and Laura Thomson