On November 15, 2017 I had the privilege of attending the unveiling of the historic marker for The Fisk Jubilee Singers. I have always respected the legacy, courage, and the resilience of the Singers and the story of their unwavering commitment to raise funds for Fisk. This historic indicator stands proudly in front of Jubilee Hall and will forever commemorate the history and efforts of the Singers and their significant role in the history of our university.
In 1871 Fisk University, established for emancipated African Americans in 1866, faced closure due to financial exigency. George Leonard White, the school's treasurer and music teacher, organized a small choral group composed of student singers, which performed serveral concerts in Nashville and throughout the South. On October 6, 1871, White and his nine-student choral ensemble departed on a Northern tour. On tour, the singers performed mostly popular tunes sacred anthems, and patriotic songs. Interspersed with "slave songs" or spirituals.