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Linda Patton speaks to the Black Experience in the Arts class with performances by James Spruill and Georgette Leslie.

 Digital Record


  • 1987 February 10


Linda Patton speaks to the Black Experience in the Arts class with performances by James Spruill and Georgette Leslie.

Biographical / Historical

Lynda Patton was born in Boston, MA, and graduated from Jeremiah E. Burke High School in 1967. She attended the University of Massachusetts--Amherst for several years and was briefly married. She returned to Boston, as a single mother and followed her father's lead and became involved with the black Panther Party. She met James Spruill after attending a performance at the New African Company and they married in 1974. Ms. Patton graduated from Boston State College in 1973 with a bachelors degree in psychology and from Goddard College (1975) with a masters in theater and literature. She taughtin regional colleges, including Boston and Northeastern Universities. Her plays include Ol' Sis, Drink the Contents of this Vial, Skip and Stephanie and assisted in the management of the New African Company with her husband. Her plays were based on her own life struggles — and on the struggle for justice for African-Americans.

Lynda Patton died in August 5, 2010.

Born in Baltimore, Mr. Spruill went to segregated schools before attending Goddard College, a progressive school in Plainfield, Vt., on a scholarship.

Interrupting his studies for prolonged periods of acting, he divided his time between Vermont and New York City, where in addition to acting with Freeman, Mr. Spruill was an understudy to Louis Gossett Jr. and appeared with others who became well-known in television and movies.

Mr. Spruill initially left New York to join the Theater Company of Boston. In 1968, the year he founded the New African Company, which he founded with Gustave Johnson, he began serving as a host of WGBH radio’s Say Brother,’ which became Basic Black.’

He enrolled that year in a master of fine arts program in directing at Boston University. Mr. Spruill was the first to be awarded the university’s Martin Luther King Jr. Fellowship for a graduate student and received his degree in 1975. The next year, he was hired to teach on the faculty of BU’s College of Fine Arts, where he remained until retiring in 2006.

James Spruill died on December 31, 2011.

Biographical information on Ms. Leslie is not available beyond her role in the movie Squeeze.

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1 Reels (Magnetic audio tape recording.) : Recording run time 1:10:34; tape speed 3¾ IPS; track position ½-Track Mono; Substrate: Polyester.

Existence and Location of Originals

Original audio recordings reside in the University of Connecticut, Black Experience in the Arts Collection, Archives & Special Collections, UConn Library.

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections, University of Connecticut Library Repository

University of Connecticut Library
405 Babbidge Road Unit 1205
Storrs Connecticut 06269-1205 USA US