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Toni Anderson, Music Historian, on
The long-awaited AMA endorsement

Toni Anderson Anderson : Once the AMA decided to endorse the group, it was amazing, the change in their fortunes. All of a sudden, White could just be the music director, because the AMA provided an advance agent, a business manager. They went before them, "to cultivate the harvest" so that the Jubilee Singers could come in and reap the harvest. And it was incredible what a difference that made. They decided to launch a series of concerts throughout New England. And these concerts made all the difference in their fortunes. For example, between October of 1871 and December, those were the difficult days, when the Jubilee Singers found themselves, so to speak, formed their identity, changed their programming, created a whole new repertoire of songs, identified themselves as the messengers that carried the spiritual, that delivered the spirituals. During that time, they also made no money. Just enough to keep them inching along. But once they started the New England campaign, which began in January of 1872 and went throughout that spring, the money, the funds started rolling in. In those few months between January and May is when they made $20,000. And so it’s incredible the difference. And it was all due to the fact that the AMA not only endorsed them but provided the necessary help to make the campaign work.

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