Skip to main content

Free Southern Theater records

 Collection — Container: papers
Identifier: 158

Scope and Contents

The records of the Free Southern Theater (FST) date from 1960 to 1978, but the bulk is from 1965 to 1976. The records total 62 linear feet and eleven oversized boxes. The records have been arranged in four major series (with subseries): Administrative series, theater production series, general correspondence series, and financial record series. Materials reflect the creative output of the FST, and include play scripts, collected ephemera, and photographs of the troupe’s performances. Also included are collected publications from other organizations pertaining to the Black Arts Movement and the Black Theater Movement. Other records concern personnel matters and fundraising activities.


These records arrived at the Amistad Research Center in no discernible order; however, for the convenience of the researcher and to gain full intellectual and physical control the records are organized by alphabetically by name or subject and then chronologically.


Some of the correspondents covered:


Richard S. Aronson, General Manager for Free Southern Theater

Arthur Ashe, Co-Chairman of Fund-raising Committee

Julian Bond, Chairman of fund-raising activities

Bill Cherry, Director of Fund-raising for Free Southern Theater

Robert Costley, actor, Production State Manager, Workshop Director for Free Southern Theater

Scott Cunningham, Artistic Director of Free Southern Theater

Ossie Davis, Vice-Chairman, National Board of Sponsors of Free Southern Theater

Tom C. Dent, Vice-Chairman, Associate Producer, Writing Workshop Instructor for Free Southern Theater

Leonard Dreyfus, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors for Free Southern Theater

Lolis E. Elie, Attorney for Free Southern Theater

Carol Feinman, Vice-President of the Free Southern Theater, Secretary-Treasurer fo the National Board of Sponsors for Free Southern Theater

Val Ferdinand (Kalamu ya Salaam), Blkartsouth Director

Fannie Lou Hamer, Mississippi sharecropper, civil rights activist, member of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party

Sylvia Hampton, Acting Workshop Instructor

Don Hubbard, Community Program Director

Roberta Yaney Jones, Associate Producer to Coordinate Fund-raising and Public Relations Activities

Murray Levy, actor, Business Manager for Free Southern Theater

Gilbert Moses, Co-Founder of the Free Southern Theater, Artistic Manager, Executive Producer

Denise Nicholas, actress, Administrator and Publicity Manager for Free Southern Theater

John O'Neal, Co-Founder of the Free Southern Theater, Producing Director, President of Free Southern Theater Corporation

Brock Peters, President of the Board of Directors and the National Board of Sponsors, President of the Free Southern Theater Corporation

Issac Reynolds, Vice-Chairman, Director of the Lower Ninth Ward Neighborhood Improvement Council

Bill Rouselle, "Nation Time" Producer

Richard Schechner, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Free Southern Theater

Joseph K. Stevens, Technical Director, Designer, and Technician for Free Southern Theater

Rev. Milton Upton, Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Free Southern Theater

Theodore Ward, writer, playwright

Wallace Young, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of Free Southern Theater


  • Created: 1960-1978
  • Other: Date acquired: 12/31/1980


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

Any copyrights such as the donor may possess in this property are hereby dedicated to the public. It is the responsibility of an author to secure permission for publication from the holder of the copyright to any material contained in this collection.


65.20 Linear Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The materials arrived at the Amistad Research Center in no discernible order.  The collection is arranged in topical series with correspondence preceding the remainder of each series.

Existence and Location of Originals

Microfilm copies are available for research use.

Related Materials

Dent, Tom C. papers

Hamer, Fannie Lou papers

Junebug Productions records

O'Neal, John papers

Dashiki Project Theatre collection

Chakula Cha Jua papers

Free Southern Theater records
H. Handy
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Amistad Research Center Repository

6823 Saint Charles Avenue
Tilton Hall, Tulane University
New Orleans LA 70118 US
(504) 862-3222