Free Spirit Freedom

Photo Gallery from May 6, 2017 Freedom Book Festival
George Wynder Thompson and family.
George Wynder Thompson and family.
George Wynder Thompson
George Wynder Thompson

On Saturday, May 6, 2017, Free Spirit Freedom will hosted A Freedom Book Festival, in order to launch its first book of historic photographs. The book, Freedom through Knowledge, incorporates images of the one and two-room schoolhouses and the larger consolidated schools operating in Orange County during the days of segregation. Free Spirit Freedom will also highlight the students, parents, teachers and community members who played critical roles in the struggle and path to freedom, a struggle that continues to this day.


This day-long community event was held at the Jerry M. Passmore Center, 103 Meadowlands Drive, in Hillsborough, NC. Activities will begin at 10am and continue until 4pm. All activities are free and open to the public.


In the morning, from 10am to 12pm, children had an opportunity to hear stories from community elders, and then compose and create their own books. Candace Midgett, Executive Director of the Orange County Historical Museum, led this book writing session for children ages 7 through 13.


In the afternoon, A Freedom Book Festival featured local authors and their literary and creative works. An open house and reception, from 1:00pm until 2:00pm, kicked off the afternoon activities. Guests and visitors were able to browse the new book of photography by Free Spirit Freedom as well as publications by local authors. This was a time to mix and mingle, and have books signed by authors.


From 2:00pm to 4:00pm, Free Spirit Freedom hosted an afternoon of readings, recitations and presentations from the new book by Free Spirit Freedom, as well as from authors, poets and artists with similar interests.


This event was made possible by a grant from the Orange County Arts Commission, and a grant from the Hillsborough Tourism Board. Co-sponsors include: the Hillsborough Arts Council, the Jerry M. Passmore Center/ Orange County Department on Aging, the Orange County Historical Museum, and the Chapel Hill/Orange County Visitors Bureau.


Free Spirit Freedom is a cultural arts initiative within the Hillsborough Arts Council, a 501c3 nonprofit organization.  Its mission is to use the arts and humanities to promote a shared history, establish social bonds, celebrate cultural traditions and build bridges of cross-cultural understanding among diverse populations for all generations.  


For further information, please contact FSF co-founders: Renee Price, at 919-591-1904 or Thomas Watson at 919-451-1844.

Free Spirit Freedom is an emerging cultural arts initiative under the umbrella of the Hillsborough Arts Council. We are exploring the rich diversity of our ethnic and social heritage, giving special emphasis to African-American, Native American and other traditionally marginalized populations. Our goal is to promote a cross-cultural memory that deepens and enriches the dimensions of Orange County.


Free Spirit Freedom came to be in mid-summer 2010 when we convened a group of community members and presented a concept for a year-round cultural arts initiative that combines history, culture, photography and personal expression. In January 2011, we had our opening reception and held a two-month inaugural exhibition at the Hillsborough Arts Council gallery.


With your help, Free Spirit Freedom is collecting and curating historic images, old photographs, narratives, literary works, artwork and artifacts to build an on-going public exhibition. We intend to become a community resource that relates the legacy of our afflictions, struggles, triumphs and achievements in our quest for equality, civil rights and justice—through the arts.


Using photography as the medium, Free Spirit Freedom will:

  • link the past to our future

  • show our unique identities, and

  • acknowledge a broader spectrum of values.


-Renee A. Price and Thomas Watson, Co-Founders