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Curtis King

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Information about Curtis King

Profile image of Curtis King

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Nonprofit Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Ethiopia
Favorite Quote:
If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It.

Birthplace

Born:
12/20/1951
Birth Location:
Coldwater, Mississippi

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
Occupation(s):
Nonprofit Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Ethiopia
Favorite Quote:
If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix It.

Birthplace

Born:
12/20/1951
Birth Location:
Coldwater
See how Curtis King is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Curtis King, founder of The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Incorporated (TBAAL) of Dallas, Texas, was born December 20, 1951, in Coldwater, Mississippi; his father, Jonah King, was a farmer, and his mother, Elizabeth McGee King, was a schoolteacher. King graduated in 1969 from segregated Tate County High School where he enjoyed writing and acting in plays. At Jackson State University, King was mentored by poet Margaret Walker Alexander, who sent him to Chicago in 1972 for the historic Black Academy of Arts and Letters (BAAL) National Conference to Assess the State of Black Arts and Letters in the United States of America. At the conference King was not only inspired by John Oliver Killens, Harry Belafonte, Ossie Davis, Ruby Dee, Romare Bearden, Alvin Ailey, Charles White, C. Eric Lincoln and others, but got their phone numbers as well.

Earning his master's degree in theater from Texas Christian University in 1974, King worked for the Mayor's Council on Youth Opportunity in Fort Worth, and the Sojourner Truth Theater Company after graduation. King was teaching theater at Shaw University in 1977 when he learned that the BAAL had gone defunct in 1976. Using $250, King formed the Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters (later The Black Academy of Arts and Letters, Incorporated, or TBAAL) in homage to BAAL in 1977. TBAAL went on to become the only African American multidisciplinary cultural arts organization housed inside a major urban convention center. TBAAL occupies 250,000 square feet of space in the Dallas Convention Center, and includes: the 1,750 seat Naomi Burton Theatre, Clarence Muse Cafe Theatre, James E. Kemp Art Gallery, and the Eva Jessye Gift Shop. TBAAL attracts hundreds of thousands of people annually.

Known for his artistic and administrative skills and celebrity contacts, King produced various celebrity tributes. King also produced the National Civil War Gala at Washington's Lincoln Theatre Center for the Performing Arts in 2000. King is the recipient of the Larry Leon Hamlin Producer's Award, Man of the Year Dream Makers Award, Esquire Magazine Register Award, the Dallas Historical Society's Arts Leadership Award, the Texas Ambassador of Goodwill Award and the World Peace Award in the Arts from the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace in 2004.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Curtis King's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Curtis King lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Curtis King talks about his maternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Curtis King talks about his maternal grandparents
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Curtis King recalls his maternal grandparents' pride and refusal to disrespected by southern whites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Curtis King talks about his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Curtis King talks about his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Curtis King talks about his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Curtis King lists his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Curtis King recalls an early childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Curtis King describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood in Coldwater, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Curtis King talks about his childhood activities and household possessions
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Curtis King states his school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Curtis King recalls moments from the Civil Rights era
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Curtis King recalls acting in plays in high school at Tate County Colored High School in Coldwater, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Curtis King talks about learning to play the flute at Tate County Colored High School in Coldwater, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Curtis King talks about his decision to attend Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Curtis King recalls studying under poet Margaret Walker and remembers black Mississippians
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Curtis King recalls attending The National Conference to Assess the State of Black Arts and Letters in the United States in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Curtis King recalls his activities after graduating from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Curtis King recalls the killings by the United States National Guard at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi in 1970
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Curtis King recalls Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Curtis King talks about his M.A. thesis on Lorraine Hansberry's 'A Raisin in the Sun'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Curtis King talks about his activities after graduating from Texas Christian University and the end of the Black Academy of Arts and Letters
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Curtis King recalls being given boxes of discarded papers from the defunct Black Academy of Arts and Letters in New York, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Curtis King recalls the founding of his theater company and its evolution into Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Curtis King talks about securing space for his organization, Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters, in Dallas, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Curtis King recalls legal battles over the Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters' space in Dallas, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Curtis King talks about securing a new space in Dallas, Texas for The Black Academy of Arts and Letters after a lengthy search
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Curtis King describes The Black Academy of Arts and Letters in Dallas, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Curtis King explains why his organization was originally called The Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Curtis King talks about programming and operations at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters in Dallas, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Curtis King talks about The Black Academy of Arts and Letters' organizational status, finances and future
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Curtis King talks about his efforts to support black artists through The Black Academy of Arts and Letters in Dallas, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Curtis King offers his definition of black art
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Curtis King describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Curtis King reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Curtis King reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Curtis King reflects upon his inspirations and achievements at The Black Academy of Arts and Letters in Dallas, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - Curtis King shares his parents' views on his involvement in the arts
  • Tape: 4 Story: 13 - Curtis King describes how he would like to be remembered