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Teresa L. Reed

singer, was born in Washington, D.C. Though her father's name is unknown, evidence suggests that he was a Union soldier. After her father died from injuries sustained during the Civil War, Batson moved with her mother, Mary Batson, to Providence, Rhode Island. She attended school and studied music in Providence; by the age of nine she was a featured soloist at Bethel Church as well as at other local churches in the Rhode Island and Boston, Massachusetts, region.

Batson's professional career began to blossom at a time when several black women were achieving renown as classically trained singers. Nellie Brown Mitchell, Sissieretta Jones, Marie Selika all classical singers and contemporaries of Batson stood in stark contrast to the Jim Crow stereotypes that prevailed in a nation only recently rid of institutionalized slavery In the early 1880s Batson was the featured soloist at People s Church ...

Article

singer and teacher, known as the “Black Swan,” was born a slave in or near Natchez, Mississippi. Her father may have been born in Africa, and her mother, Anna, was of mixed ancestry. Various sources offer no fewer than seven different birth dates between 1807 and 1824. Greenfield's use of “Taylor” rather than “Greenfield” in certain documents suggests that her parents used this surname, but little record of them survives.

When their owner, the wealthy widow Elizabeth Holliday Greenfield, joined the Society of Friends and moved to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the 1820s, Greenfield's parents were manumitted and immigrated to Liberia. Though records suggest her mother planned to return, Greenfield never saw her parents again. She lived with her mistress until she was about eight years old and then rejoined her as a nurse-companion in about 1836 she seems to have lived with relatives in the ...

Article

Richlyn Faye Goddard

concert soprano, was born in Sacramento, California, the eldest of four daughters of the amateur musicians Sam B. Hyers and his wife. Anna's exact date of birth and death cannot be confirmed but most agree that she was born either in 1853 or 1855. At an early age she showed her prodigious talent. Her parents provided basic music training, and both of their daughters, Anna and Emma Louise Hyers, later studied piano and voice formally with the German professor Hugo Sank and the former Italian opera singer Madame Josephine D'Ormy. On 22 April 1867 the Hyers Sisters made their professional debut at the Metropolitan Theater in Sacramento and for the next four years they toured the California circuit and were well received by the public at each stop Anna was said to possess a pure sweet soprano voice very true even and flexible of remarkable ...

Article

Richlyn Faye Goddard

pioneer concert contralto, was born between 1853 and 1858 in Sacramento, California. Early on she revealed musical talent and studied music first with her parents, who were amateur musicians. She and her sister, the soprano Anna Madah Hyers, studied with opera singer Madame Josephine D'Ormy and piano and voice formally with Hugo Sank. They made their professional debut in their early teens, giving a joint recital, as the Hyers Sisters, to critical acclaim at the Metropolitan Theater in Sacramento on 22 April 1867. Writers praised young Emma Louise's beautiful contralto, one calling it “a voice of great power and depth … with a dark, rich timbre … that Miss Louise is a natural wonder, being a fine alto-singer, and also the possessor of a pure tenor voice” (Trotter, 162–163).

After their professional debut, the sisters retired from the stage for further study. Assisted by baritone John ...

Article

Jeffrey Green

choir leader, was born in Portage County, Ohio, the son of a farmer whose name is now unknown and whose financial contributions to a nearby college neither overcame the local prejudice nor secured a place for his son among the student body. Educated in Ravenna, Ohio, Loudin went on to train as a printer, only to find his opportunities restricted by white printers who refused to work with him. Even his Methodist church rejected his application to join its choir. For all its positive associations for their kinfolk in the slavery states, mid-nineteenth century Ohio was a hard place for the Loudins, as it had been for Frederick Douglass who was mobbed in Columbus, Ohio, when Frederick Loudin was a boy. He was to recall that the “ostracism was even more complete and unchristian in the free than in the slave States” (Marsh, 106).

After the Civil War Loudin ...

Article

David Bradford

a renowned vocalist with the Fisk Jubilee Singers, was born near Athens, Alabama, to Mahalia Jackson, a slave. Her father's name is unknown.

“[S]he journeyed around the world, singing in all climes and among all peoples and before all the crowned heads of the land, and wore medals from the most prominent kings and emperors in the world,” according to Malone's obituary in the 1897Annual Report of the American Missionary Association (p. 36). During a fifteen-year career, Malone crisscrossed the globe as a member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers and its successor groups, singing in European capitals and remote Asian backwaters. She was one of the most widely traveled and famous African American performers of her age, entertaining audiences in seventeen countries and singing for six European crown heads.

Malone was born a slave around 1858 at Cedars Plantation near Athens Alabama Her mother Mahalia was ...

Article

Alberto José Vieira Pacheco

was born in São João del Rei, Minas Gerais, Brazil, on 6 January 1782. In the eighteenth century, the exploitation of gold deposits discovered in the inland captaincy of the southeast of Brazil led to the development of urban centers in a position to further a flourishing range of musical activities, often performed by individuals of mixed race, such as Pereira. Although nothing is known about his parenthood, the chronicles of that time recognized him as mulatto, revealing his African ancestry. With the decline of gold mining in the second half of the century, a number of musicians moved to Rio de Janeiro, capital of the viceroyalty of Brazil after 1763. Thus, in 1808, when the Portuguese royal family and court arrived in Rio, seeking refuge from the Napoleonic Wars, Pereira was already in the city.

The presence of the Bragança Court and the expanded opportunities for ...