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Tom Dent interview, Part 2
Rogers, Kim Lacy
Dent explains his involvement in FST and more on what the program is about.
Tom Dent continues to overview the work of the Free Southern Theater (FST), including their changing emphases to public performances of poetry. He details the FST's work in the Desire neighborhood of New Orleans and offers his observations of the Desire Projects shootout with New Orleans police. He describes the difficulties in funding FST throughout its existence. He names Don Hubbard, Matthew Suarez, Oretha Castle Haley, and others as the most important supporters of the FST, noting that as Civil rights Movement activists those individuals had a better understanding of their mission. He also mentions how he traveled once or twice a week to Mary Holmes College for a teaching position there for two years while working with FST. He expresses that he was grateful for that opportunity, because it allowed him to think more about Mississippi in his own work. He then outlines the origins of FST in Mississippi and discusses the group's potential. Dent explains how the work of FST related to other contemporary organizations throughout the South. He also discusses how FST focused more on poetry when it was difficult to find usable scripts, since poetic forms were more analogous to music rooted in African American cultural traditions. This allowed toward more theater-based departure from the traditional three-act play format, and for "experimenting with the traditional strengths of the culture" more generally.
Civil rights movement
New Orleans (La.)
Amistad Research Center
Box 4, Item 14, Side 2, Kim Lacy Rogers collection, Amistad Research Center at Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana
Physical rights are retained by the Amistad Research Center. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws.