Circa 1872 cabinet card photograph depicting the nine original members of the Fisk Jubilee Singers in a studio setting, titled "'Jubilee Singers,' of Fisk University, Tennessee". Studio marks for L. E. Walker, Warsaw, New York, en verso. 4 3/8" H x 6 5/8" W. Biography: In 1866 the Fisk Free Colored School was established in Nashville, Tennessee by the American Missionary Association. Housed in abandoned Union hospital barracks, Fisk set out to educate former slaves with the support of donations from former abolitionists. As those donations declined over the next five years, Fisk fell on hard times. To save the institution, Fisk's treasurer, George Leonard White, decided to gamble on the extraordinary voices of the young black singers who had begun to share with him the songs of their ancestors. In 1871, over the objections of his colleagues and sponsors, White and his assistant, a young African American pianist named Ella Sheppard, led a choir of nine young former slaves (now called the Fisk Jubilee Singers) from Nashville to perform for congregations in the North along the route of the Underground Railway. (source: http://www.blackpast.org/aah/fisk-jubilee-singers). CONDITION: Overall good condition with foxing spots, toning, etc. to be expected from age. Areas of skinning en verso. Title lettering slightly smudged but legible. Black ink mark reading "12" top right.
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