On this day in 1915, the Tuskegee Singers performed at the private Moss High School auditorium at 450 Prince Avenue.
(click to enlarge image to read program)
According to the Athens Banner, the quartet had been brought to town by "leading educators of the city, University professors, public school teachers, and some of the leading citizens." The event was a fundraiser for the Model and Training School in Clarke County, started in 1903 by Judia Jackson Harris.
Booker T. Washington organized the Tuskegee Singers quartet in 1884 "to 'promote interest in the Tuskegee Institute' by acquainting benevolent audiences to the Tuskegee name and Washington philosophy. " Washington believed African-Americans should be self-sufficient, and philosophy shared by the Model and Training School, which taught basic academic subjects, but also offered vocational education.
The Tuskegee Singers were reorganized in 1909, and actually involved seven or eight young men at a time. They recorded albums of their music, mostly spirituals. The Banner noted, in their story anticipating the November 3rd program, that "every store handling first class victrola records has selections from the very quartet to be here tomorrow night."
The program was reviewed in the paper the next morning as "excellent" and "a real treat." To hear the songs sung by this particular group of singers in 1915, click here.
- Athens Banner, Sep. 1915 - Nov. 1915 on Microfilm in the Heritage collection.
- Athens Historic Newspaper Archive collection in the Digital Library of Georgia.
- Digital recordings of the Tuskegee Singers from 1914 to 1916.
- A Story Untold: Black Men and Women in Athens, Georgia by Michael Thurmond in the Heritage and general collection.
- Crossroads: Southern Routes: Music of the American South, compiled by the Smithsonian Institution in the AV collection.
- Gospel Music Encyclopedia by Robert Anderson in the Reference collection.
- The African-American Century: How Black Americans Have Shaped Our Culture by Henry Louis Gates in the general collection.
- Up From History: The Life of Booker T. Washington by Robert J. Norrell in the biography collection.
- Tuskegee Institute Choir website.