You’re listening to the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University sing Peter on the Sea, from 1927, and you’re on the Sound Beat.

Fisk University struggled financially from its very founding just six months after the end of the Civil War. On the verge of closure, the Jubilee Singers began a series of fund-raising tours in 1871. By appearing in many venues in the U.S. and embarking on a visit to Europe where they sang for Queen Victoria, the Jubilee Singers broke color barriers and made an enormous impact on the world of music. Oh, and they saved the University. As a matter of fact, the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University continue to sing today.

In their words “We stand on the shoulders of the original Jubilee Singers, continuing their legacy, as we sing Negro Spirituals”.

This episode was written in part by Syracuse University student Tesia Elder as part of the Sound Beat Class Partnership.

For more on the Jubilee Singers past and present, click here.

Sound Beat is produced at the Belfer Audio Archive, Syracuse University Libraries.