The Black Academy of Arts and Letters Records

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About the Collection

The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (TBAAL) Records comprises 247 boxes of archival documents, video and photographs documenting the history and activities of the Dallas-based arts organization. TBAAL was founded in 1977 by Curtis King, as on outgrowth of the New York City based Black Academy of Arts and Letters, with a mission to create and enhance an awareness and understanding of artistic, cultural, and aesthetic differences utilizing the framework of African, African-American, and Caribbean Arts and Letters.

Original programming at TBAAL has featured numerous African-American celebrities of song, stage, and screen, including Esther Rolle, Ruby, Eartha Kitt, Eryka Badu, Dave Chappelle, and Fantasia Barrino among many others. The collection includes manuscript records of these productions, such as scripts, sheet music, programs, flyers, posters, and correspondence between TBAAL founder and director Curtis King and VIPs. The collection also documents the history of the organization, including its programming for Dallas ISD students, its relationship with the City of Dallas, and its successive location moves before finally reaching its current site in the Dallas Convention Center.

Portions of The Black Academy of Arts and Letters Records have been digitized and are available on The Portal to Texas History.