Free Southern Theater

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SNCC members John O’Neal and Doris Derby join actor/journalist Gilbert Moses and thespians at Tougaloo College to form the Drama Workshop, which grows into the Free Southern Theater (FST). Racially integrated and dedicated to social change, the FST takes live theater to poor, rural, mostly Black audiences across Mississippi Louisiana, Tennessee, and Georgia. Refusing to play to segregated audiences, the FST’s Freedom Summer Tour stages free performances of In White America, Purlie Victorious, Waiting for Godot, and others in churches and improvised community spaces. Acclaimed artists Harry Belafonte, Langston Hughes, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, James Baldwin, Loraine Hansberry, Sidney Poitier, Theodore Bikel, and Lincoln Kirstein support the project. Learn more.