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The Fisk Jubilee Singers return to Cornell for a concert Oct. 26 at 8 p.m. in the Alice Statler Auditorium.

Atkinson Forum hosts Fisk Jubilee Singers Oct. 26

The Atkinson Forum in American Studies is bringing the Fisk Jubilee Singers back to campus for a concert Oct. 26, at 8 p.m. in the Alice Statler Auditorium.

Doors will open at 7:15 p.m.; the concert is free and open to the public.

The Fisk Jubilee Singers are students at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, who sing and travel worldwide under the direction of Paul T. Kwami, associate professor of music. The original Fisk Jubilee Singers introduced “slave songs” to the world in 1871 and were instrumental in preserving the unique American musical tradition known as Negro spirituals.

They broke racial barriers in the U.S. and abroad in the late 19th century and entertained kings and queens in Europe, while raising money to support their school.

Glenn Altschuler, the Thomas and Dorothy Litwin Professor of American Studies, cited the generosity of David R. ’60 and Patricia D. Atkinson in establishing the forum, now in its 16th year.

“As they have done in so many areas at Cornell, David and Pat Atkinson have contributed so very much to American studies at Cornell,” he said. “From the Fisk Jubilee Singers, who began the series in 2003, to a jazz concert by Jason Moran … [to] ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ at the Schwartz Center and exhibits at the Johnson Museum, the Atkinson Forum has enriched Cornell and the Ithaca community.”

Kathy Hovis is a writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.

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