The Legacy of Johnny Cash at the Clinton House Museum

The instantly recognizable music of Arkansan Johnny Cash did much more than entertain. His deep, resonant voice delivered lyrics that ranged from uplifting to despondent—and at times spoke out about things disenfranchised groups were experiencing in American society.

1968 was a particularly significant year in Cash’s career, beginning with his famous concert performance in the cafeteria of Folsom State Prison, a maximum-security facility near Sacramento, California. Later that year Cash came home to Arkansas, spending time in Fayetteville with Governor Winthrop Rockefeller and performing for crowds anxious to see the famous native son.

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Cash’s landmark prison concert, the Clinton House Museum is a host location for special exhibition 1968: A Folsom Redemption. Visitors will find a collection of photographs and the memories of two eyewitness journalists who were present during Cash’s Folsom Prison performance.

Though his single “Folsom Prison Blues” was originally released with solid success in 1955, when Johnny Cash released At Folsom Prison following the live performance, the album topped Billboard country charts and renewed his career. He continued performing in prisons all over the United States and used his fame to advocate for prisoner rehabilitation and keeping minors out of incarceration.

In complement to the 1968: A Folsom Redemption exhibition, the Clinton House Museum will offer several special events and programming to highlight Cash’s time in Arkansas, his legacy role in prison reform and his iconic international status:

September 1 – October 20

1968: A Folsom Redemption exhibition on display
Monday through Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Sunday 1 – 5 p.m.

September 17 – 6 - 8 p.m.

History Happy Hour: The Man in Black

This happy hour celebrates the anniversary of Johnny Cash’s 1968 Fayetteville concert on the same date—and when Arkansas native Bob Wootten ended up on stage during the show to play guitar for Cash, marking the beginning of a 30-year career with the band.

Tickets are just $5 at the door and include a take-home pint class, two pours, snacks and entertainment.

For event reminders and updates, text HISTORYHAPPY to 51555.

September 24 – 6 p.m.

Atkinson Speaker Series—Rock-n-Roll Prison Reform: Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison, featuring Dr. Lisa Corrigan

October 2 – 6 p.m.

 Atkinson Speaker Series—Journalist in Concert: Gene Beley at Folsom Prison

October 17 – 6 p.m.

Clinton Anniversary Dinner: Celebrating Arkansas Icons

For more information about this series of events or the work of the Clinton House Museum, please visit or call (479) 444-0066.

The 1968: A Folsom Redemption exhibition is a program of Exhibits USA, a national division of Mid-America Arts Alliance with Arkansas Arts Council and National Endowment for the Arts.

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