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Tom  Dent
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(March 20, 1932-June 6, 1998) Born Thomas Covington Dent in New Orleans; educated at Gilbert Academy, Morehouse College (B.A., political science, 1952), and Syracuse University (1952-56). Editor at Morehouse of literary journal Maroon Tiger. After two years in the U.S. Army (1957-59), moved to New York, where he worked as reporter for New York Age (1959-60), social worker for New York Welfare Department (1960-61), and as press attaché and public information director for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (1961-63), assisting Thurgood Marshall. In 1962 co-founded Umbra Writer's Workshop in New York. Returned to New Orleans in 1965. As associate director of the Free Southern Theater (1966-70), an activist community theater project, organized performances throughout the South. Taught at Mary Homes College in West Point, Mississippi (1968-70), and later at University of New Orleans (1979-81); in 1969 co-founded Callaloo: A Quarterly Journal of African and African-American Arts and Letters. Wrote plays Negro Study No. 34A (1970), Snapshot (1970), and Ritual Murder (1976). Served as public relations director for New Orleans antipoverty agency (1971-74); awarded an MFA in creative writing from Goddard University in 1974. Beginning in the late 1970s was active in compiling oral histories of Mississippi civil rights workers, and in 1984 interviewed Acadian and New Orleans musicians. From 1984 to 1986 worked with Andrew Young on autobiography An Easy Burden (1996). Served as executive director of New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation, sponsor of New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, 1987-90. Author of two books of poetry, Magnolia Street (1976) and Blue Lights and River Songs (1982); co-edited The Free Southern Theater (1969, with Richard Schechner). In 1996 published Southern Journey, in which he revisited the scenes and characters of the southern civil rights movement. Died in New Orleans.

Also see "Tom Dent: A New Orleans Writer." This article, published by the The Black Collegian Magazine online, is a biography of Tom Dent written by students of color.