Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL) recently reintroduced a resolution Supporting the Goals and Ideals of Jubilee Day, honoring the accomplishments of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers and those who carry the tradition forward today. Located in Nashville, Tennessee, Fisk University celebrates Jubilee Day annually on October 6th. Joining Hastings as original cosponsors include: Representatives Jim Cooper (D-TN), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Lucy McBath (D-GA) and Joyce Beatty (D-OH). (Please find attached a copy of the resolution):
“As an alumnus of Fisk University, I am proud to reintroduce this resolution to honor the contributions of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers, as well as those who have followed in their path, including those who continue to tour today.
“In 1866, the Fisk Free Colored School was founded in Nashville, Tennessee as an educational institute open to all, regardless of race. Five years later, the institution faced serious economic hardship, which threatened the continuation of that mission. In response, a group of students formed a choral group, the Fisk Jubilee Singers, with the goal of raising money to save the institution from economic hardship. Despite a few initial struggles, the Jubilee Singers eventually came to tour throughout the United States and Europe and raised enough funds to not only preserve the University, but also to pay for the construction of Jubilee Hall, the first permanent structure built for the education of African American students in the South.
“By utilizing their talents and making tremendous sacrifices, the Jubilee Singers not only saved the University by starting Jubilee Day in 1871, but also introduced the spirituals of enslaved Africans to an international audience, performing for notable figures, such as William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Ulysses S. Grant, William Gladstone, Mark Twain, Johann Strauss, and Queen Victoria.
“Since its founding, Fisk has educated countless intellectuals, artists, and civic leaders and has played a pivotal role in the advancement of education for African American students. Their legacy and traditions of the Jubilee Singers continue to be celebrated annually on October 6th and have become a cornerstone for African American culture. This resolution recognizes that the subsequent accomplishments of Fisk University or its graduates would not have been possible without the foundational contributions of the original Fisk Jubilee Singers, and honors those who continue in their footsteps.”
Congressman Alcee L. Hastings serves as Vice-Chairman of the House Rules Committee, Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, and Co-Chairman of the Florida Delegation.