Name: The Black Academy of Arts and Letters (1978-)
The Black Academy of Arts and Letters is a Dallas, Texas based visual and performing arts organization dedicated to stimulating awareness of black artistic accomplishments and identifying, encouraging, and supporting young artists and scholars in African-American arts and letters. Originally called the Junior Black Academy of Arts and Letters, the organization was founded in 1977 by Curtis King, of Coldwater, MS. The Junior Black Academy was modeled after the American Negro Academy and the New York Black Academy of Arts and Letters, sharing their mission of promoting and celebrating African-American art, scholarship, and culture. The Junior Black Academy was originally located in King’s own apartment on Knight St. in Dallas, but eventually moved to its current location within the Dallas Convention Center in 1989. In 1997, the Junior Black Academy’s board of directors voted to change the organization’s name officially to The Black Academy of Arts and Letters.
In its early years, TBAAL created its own touring theatre troupe, the Third World Players. It has since grown to host over one hundred performances every year, including an annual tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. entitled Black Music and the Civil Rights Movement, and a Summer Arts program aimed at engaging Dallas K-12 students in the theatrical arts.