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Rock-n-Roll Prison Reform: Johnny Cash at Folsom

September 24, 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Photo of Johnny Cash outside Folsom Prison in 1968 for Rock-n-Roll Prison Reform: Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison speaker event on September 24, 2019 in Fayetteville, Arkansas

Johnny Cash advocated for numerous social issues throughout his career, prison reform and care for the humane treatment of prisoners being chief among them. His concerts at various prisons, including Folsom and San Quentin in California and Cummins in Gould, Arkansas in the late 1960s were demonstrations of his effort to bring prison issues into the public sphere. In Arkansas he actively campaigned for Republican Governor Winthrop Rockefeller’s re-election. Rockefeller had been vocal about the poor state of Arkansas prisons, and Arkansas native Johnny Cash was just the person to help him campaign on a reform platform. 

In that spirit, we are hosting a special event on Tuesday, September 24, 2019 as a part of our Atkinson Speaker Series. “Rock-n-Roll Prison Reform: Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison” will feature Dr. Lisa Corrigan, author of the nationally acclaimed book Prison Power: How Prison Influenced the Movement for Black Liberation. In tandem with the Clinton House Museum’s exhibition of the photos of Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, this talk examines the importance of Cash’s recording at Folsom in light of his longstanding role, in Arkansas and across the country, as a prison reform advocate. Tracing his earliest prison performance in Huntsville, Texas, in 1957, through his iconic recordings at Folsom and at Cummins Prison, this talk discusses landscape of prison reform during the period as well as Cash’s relationship to imprisonment as both a performer and as a political advocate. 

The second half the evening will include a panel with Corrigan; Zachary Crow, Director of DecARcerate; and Raven Cook, Museum Educator at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and frequent contributor to KUAF on African American history.

This event is FREE, but an RSVP is appreciated. Just text CashatFolsom to 91999 or use this secure link

About Lisa Corrigan

Photo of Dr. Lisa CorriganDr. Lisa M. Corrigan (Ph.D. University of Maryland) is an Associate Professor of Communication, Director of the Gender Studies Program, and Affiliate Faculty in both African & African American Studies and Latin American Studies at the University of Arkansas. She researches and teaches in the areas of social movement studies, the Black Power and civil rights movements, prison studies, feminist studies, the Cuban Revolution, and the history of the Cold War.

Her first book, Prison Power: How Prison Politics Influenced the Movement for Black Liberation (University Press of Mississippi, 2016), is the recipient of the 2017 Diamond Anniversary Book Award and the 2017 African American Communication and Culture Division Outstanding Book Award both from the National Communication Association. Her second book is titled, Black Feelings: Race and Affect in the Long Sixties (University Press of Mississippi) will be available in February 2020.

Her writings and reviews have appeared in: Quarterly Journal of Speech, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Advances in the History of Rhetoric, Philosophy & Rhetoric, Women & Language, Communication Quarterly, The National Journal of Urban Education and Practice, The Journal of Post-Colonial Writing, Intertexts, Review of Communication, Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, Howard Journal of Communication, Women’s Studies in Communication, Southern Journal of Communication, and QED: A Journal in Queer Worldmaking.

She is also a contributor to the Indivisible Guide and regularly leads political trainings and workshops in Arkansas and around the country.

Finally, she co-hosts a podcast with Laura Weiderhaft called Lean Back: Critical Feminist Conversations, which, in 2017, was named the top podcast in Arkansas and one of the top thirty-five podcasts in the country by Paste magazine.


September 24, 2019
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Clinton House Museum


Fayetteville Town Center
15 W Mountain Street
Fayetteville, 72701 United States
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