That day meant freedom for the slaves in Bible times, (Leviticus chapter 25) and even more so when slavery was instituted to the new world: North and South America and adjoining territories.
Jubilee for American slaves came in 1863. Fisk University (Nashville, Tennessee) seven years later created a group of singers to stun the country with voices singing with precision timing, and phrasing, that it became their tool to raise funds for the university.
Fisk, was the first higher learning institution in 1866 to offer a liberal arts education to men and women “irrespective of color “. In the beginning, they were not called JUBILEE SINGERS, but by 1871, the name was attached. The group was made of students, they were free people, their jubilee had arrived.
ARENA STAGE in Washington D.C. is staging a must see production (May June,2019) called JUBILEE: a look at the journey of this remarkable group, that survived for almost 30 years.
This is not all singing of the so called Negro Spirituals but it relives assaults from hate groups, and the difficulty of managing high strung personalities.
While I sat there I heard voices in unity, softly humming some of the spirituals.
Cast of JUBILEE, Picture by Margot Schulman
The lighting and images throughout the production are enthralling. After the show I spoke with one of the stars, SEAN MAURICE LYNCH (Frederick Loudin).