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The American Experience
Timeline of the Jubilee Singers [imagemap] index.html index_2.html index_3.html
1869 Two African Americans are elected to Massachusetts House of Representatives. Edward G. Walker and Charles L. Mitchell were the first African Americans to serve in a legislative assembly.
1870 Ulyssess S. GrantJanuary 1
Ulysses S. Grant begins his first of two terms as president of the United States.
After successfully leading the Union to victory in the Civil War, Grant was elected to office as a Republican. His presidency coincided with a national economic depression that began in 1873 and a corresponding backlash against Reconstruction policies in the South.

March 30
Ratification of the 15th Amendment makes African American men's right to vote a Constitutional guarantee.
The 15th Amendment prohibited states from discriminating against citizens according to "race, color, or previous condition of servitude."
1871 Jubilee SingersOctober 6
The Jubilee Singers depart from Nashville for their first tour of the United States.
George White had planned a route in keeping with the Underground Railroad, a network of churches and private homes throughout the Midwest and Northeast that had once provided shelter to escaped slaves on their way to free states or Canada. Beginning in Cincinnati, the Jubilee Singers traveled through Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, and Washington, D.C. over the next eighteen months, giving hundreds of performances and raising $40,000 for Fisk.

October 17
The last of a series of anti-Ku Klux Klan Enforcement Acts is passed, providing military protection to African Americans voting in federal elections.
Democratic Southern states, knowing that African Americans would most likely vote Republican, had continued to subject blacks to violence at the ballot box. Increasingly, however, violence would be replaced with poll taxes, as well as literacy and property requirements, keeping both African Americans and poor whites from voting.
1872 March 5
The Jubilee Singers perform for President Grant at the White House.
On the previous evening, the singers gave a concert for Vice President Schuyler Colfax and members of Congress. Despite their new popularity among political elites, the singers were kicked out of a D.C. hotel because of their race.

March 8
The Jubilee Singers perform at New York City’s Steinway Hall.

New Yorkers displayed great enthusiasm for the Jubilee Singers. Soon after performing at Henry Ward Beecher’s Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, they went to Steinway Hall, a major venue in downtown Manhattan. General Clinton B. Fisk, the American Missionary Association board member for whom Fisk University was named, attended this performance. He joked with the audience that one of the singers, Thomas Rutling, had once been a runaway valued at $450 but that now he was certainly worth more.

May 6
The Jubilee Singers give their first European concert in London.

The Seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, a famous social reformer in Britain, agreed to sponsor this concert on behalf of the Freedmen’s Missions Aid Society. Although the singers were nervous about this first performance in Britain, the concert went so well they were soon asked to sing for Queen Victoria, Prime Minister William Gladstone, and royal guests from all over Europe.

December 9
Pinckney B.S. Pinchback of Louisiana becomes the first African American state governor.
Approximately 2,000 African Americans held public office during the twelve years following the Civil War. However, there would not be another African American governor in the U.S. until 1989.
1874 May 5
The Jubilee Singers set sail for the U.S. after raising $50,000 during a year-long British tour.
This tour would be the last for baritone Isaac Dickerson, who stayed in Britain to attend the University of Edinburgh. Minnie Tate’s voice and Benjamin Holmes’ health had deteriorated so much that both were forced to quit the troupe upon their return to Nashville.


1863 - 1868 | 1869 - 1874 | 1875 - 1879

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