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Franklin Library Special Collections and Archives : Fisk Jubilee Singers Collection

Accessing the Franklin Library's Special Collections and Archives

The Fisk Jubilee Singers, Commissioned by Queen Victoria of England, 1873.

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The Jubilee Singers of Today


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Jubilee Hall


Ella Sheppard


Ella Sheppard Moore (1851-1914)

About the Collection

The tradition of excellence at Fisk has developed out of a history marked by struggle and uncertainty. The Fisk Jubilee Singers originated as a group of students who set out on a concert tour of the North on October 6, 1871 to save a financially ailing school. Their ages ranged from fifteen to twenty-five years old. The idea to form the group was conceived by George L. White, the University’s treasurer, against the disapproval of the University. White borrowed money for the tour. In the beginning, the group met with failure, singing classical and popular music. When they began to sing slave songs, they bought spirituals to the attention of the world during their national and European concerts. It was White who gave them the name Jubilee Singers in memory of the Jewish Year of Jubilee. The original Jubilee Singers (1871) are Minnie Tate, Greene Evans, Isaac Dickerson, Jennie Jackson, Maggie Porter, Ella Sheppard, Thomas Rutling, Benjamin Holmes, Eliza Walker, and George White as director.


The Jubilee Singers Archives, 1858-1924, consists of items that are focused on the activities of the Fisk University Jubilee Singers. There is an abundance of correspondences from members including George White (organizer), Ella Sheppard Moore, Mabel Imes, America Robinson, Maggie Porter, and Julia Jackson. The collection also includes newspaper clippings, photographs, publicity materials, and programs. The intellect of Ella Sheppard Moore is made apparent through her many manuscripts and publications in the collection. The Jubilee Singers documented there expeditions very well, as shown in the collection’s multiple scrapbooks, while the sheet music captures the historical music and arrangements dating back to 1872.

Jubilee Singers Article


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