The History of the Jubilee Quartets

Jubilee Quartets are religious African American a Capella groups that were popularized in the early twentieth century. The named used to describe these types of singers originated from the Fisk Jubilee Singers, who attended Fisk University in 1871. Quartets featured many styles of singing, such as close harmonies, and controlled music expression and technique.

The Fisk Jubilee Quartets



The Fisk Jubilee Quartets were a group of talented vocal artists from Fisk University. This group consisted of nine members, four African American men, Isaac Dickerson, Greene Evans, Thomas Rutling, and Ben Holmes, and five African American women, Eliza Walker, Minnie Tate, Ella Shepard, Jennie Jackson, and Maggie Porter. This collective came together and went on tour with hopes of earning money for their school that had been facing financial hardships. The Fisk Jubilee Quartets became the first group to sing “slave songs” that are now referred to as Negro Spirituals. As the group continued to tour around the world, the group earned a reputation for their powerful and talented voices and song choices, which were inspirational and religious.


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