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Swing Low, Sweet Chariot: 150 Years of the Fisk Jubilee Singers | Past Forward


American Experience presents a virtual PAST FORWARD conversation celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. This conversation is inspired by our film, Jubilee Singers: Sacrifice and Glory, streaming now.

In 1871, a group of Fisk University students embarked on a daring countrywide singing tour to raise money for their failing school. When they started, they barely received enough donations to cover their expenses. By the end, they were performing for presidents, diplomats and royalty.

Our panelists will discuss the grueling conditions the singers faced during their journey, the impact the group had in popularizing African American spirituals, and the effect the singers’ success had on racism in America and beyond. The conversation will celebrate the current Fisk Jubilee Singers and the original group’s legacy 150 years later.

Featured guests include:

Paul Kwami – Musical Director of the Fisk Jubilee Singers and Mike Curb Jubilee Singers Endowed Chair

Llewellyn Smith – Producer and director, Jubilee Singers: Sacrifice and Glory

The conversation will be moderated by Lerone Martin, Professor of Religion and Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.

Learn more about American Experience: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/

Watch “Jubilee Singers”: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/films/singers/

Watch other Past Forward conversations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGIBrZBZupY&list=PLmh4YIWteoGhn6gwV1X_UebHijqwPHZ1_