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The Power of Music and Memory

The Legacies of the Fisk Jubilee Singers and the Underground Railroad

2021 marks the 150th anniversary of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. On October 6, 1871, a group of African American students set out on a tour following the routes of the Underground Railroad to garner support for Fisk University, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) established in 1866 in Nashville, Tennessee.

This virtual panel, taking place on Friday October 8, 2021 from 2-4:00 p.m., will explore the intertwined historic and cultural legacies of the Fisk Jubilee Singers and the Underground Railroad. It will show how music and historical memory combined to popularize the African American spiritual as a uniquely American musical form.


Toni Anderson, PhD, Chair of the Music Program and Professor of Voice, LaGrange College

Crystal A. deGregory, PhD, Research Fellow, Center for Historic Preservation at Middle Tennessee State University

DeLisa Minor Harris, Assistant Director of Library Services at Fisk University

Andrew Ward, Award-Winning Author

The panel will be introduced by Paul T. Kwami, DMA, Professor of Music, Musical Director: Fisk Jubilee Singers.

There will also be a brief demonstration of the Fisk Jubilee Singers’ First Tour (October 1871-May 1872) Story Map by Tony Frazier, PhD, Associate Professor of History at North Carolina Central University and Christy Hyman, PhD student in the program of Geography, University of Nebraska Lincoln.

Advance Registration Required, click here: The Power of Music and Memory: The Legacies of the Fisk Jubilee Singers and the Underground Railroad (Teams Live Event)

Closed captioning is available.

This event is being hosted by the NPS, National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program in partnership with the Fisk Jubilee Singers®.

For questions, please contact: Déanda Johnson at

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