Jennie Jackson

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Jennie Jackson
Jennie Jackson DeHart, from a 1911 publication.
Jennie Jackson DeHart, from a 1911 publication.
DiedMay 4, 1910 (aged 57–58)
NationalityUnited States
Other namesJennie Jackson DeHart (after marriage)
Known fororiginal member of the Fisk Jubilee Singers
Jubilee Singers, Fisk University, Nashville, Tenn. LCCN2010647805; Jennie Jackson is fourth from the left in this grouping, seated between standing Isaac Dickerson and standing Maggie Porter

Jennie Jackson (1852 – May 4, 1910) was an American singer and voice teacher. She was one of the original members of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, an African-American a cappella ensemble. She toured with the group from 1871 to 1877. In 1891 she formed her own sextet, the Jennie Jackson Concert Company.

Early life[edit]

Jennie Jackson was born in Kingston, Tennessee.[1] Her grandfather was enslaved in the household of Andrew Jackson. Her parents were also enslaved, but she was raised in freedom from an early age, after her mother, a laundress, was freed.[2] They lived in Nashville, Tennessee, during, and after the American Civil War. Jackson enrolled at Fisk Free Colored School as one of its first students after it opened in 1866.[1] She joined the Jubilee Singers when they formed in 1871.[3]


Jackson toured with the Fisk Jubilee Singers from 1871 to 1877, including concerts in Great Britain and Europe. They sang spirituals and other music in a cappella arrangements.[4] Their tours raised funds for the Fisk University campus.[5] Their audiences included Henry Ward Beecher, William Lloyd Garrison, Queen Victoria, Mark Twain, and Ulysses S. Grant.[6][7][8] She left the group in 1877 when she fell ill with colitis.[9][10] She was at the center of a large 1873 painting of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, by Edmund Havel, commissioned by Queen Victoria to commemorate their performance for her.[11][12][13]

Jackson later sang with a reorganized version of the group and with fellow Fisk Jubilee Singer Maggie Porter Cole's group. In 1891 she formed her own sextet, the Jennie Jackson Concert Company.[14] She also taught voice.[15]

Personal life[edit]

Jackson married Rev. Andrew J. DeHart in 1884, and lived in the Walnut Hills neighborhood of Cincinnati, Ohio.[3][16] She was widowed in 1909, and she died at home in 1910, aged 58 years, in Cincinnati.[17] In 1978, Jackson and the other original members of the Fisk Jubilee Singers were granted posthumous honorary Doctor of Music degrees from Fisk University.[18]


  1. ^ a b Gustavus D. Pike, Jubilee Singers and their Campaign for Twenty Thousand Dollars (Hodder and Stoughton 1873): 61.
  2. ^ Booker T. Washington, The Story of the Negro: The Rise of the Race from Slavery, Volume 2 (Doubleday, Page & Company 1909): 269.
  3. ^ a b A. E. W., "Looking Backward" in Monroe Alphus Majors, Noted Negro Women: Their Triumphs and Activities (Donohue and Henneberry 1893): 134–138.
  4. ^ Sandra Jean Graham, "How African-American Spirituals Moved from Cotton Fields to Concert Halls" Zocalo Public Square (October 29, 2018).
  5. ^ "Singers Rescued School with Voices" The Daily Oklahoman (December 15, 1995): 171. via
  6. ^ Mary E. Nalle, "The Preservation of the American Negro Folk Song" Social Service Review (August 1916): 13, p. lxxii.
  7. ^ Gabriel Mllner, "The Tenor of Belonging: The Fisk Jubilee Singers and the Popular Culture of Postbellum Citizenship" Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 15(4)(2016): 399.
  8. ^ "Tennessee's Jubilee Singers Sang to Save Fisk University" Wilson Daily Times (October 27, 1995): 11A. via
  9. ^ Sandra Graham, "On the Road to Freedom: The Contracts of the Fisk Jubilee Singers" American Music 24(1)(Spring 2006): 1–29.
  10. ^ Katie J. Graber, "'A Strange, Weird Effect': The Fisk Jubilee Singers in the United States and England" American Music Research Center Journal (2013): 27–52.
  11. ^ Edmund Havel, "Fisk Jubilee Singers, 1873" Fisk University Library, Special Collections.
  12. ^ J. B. T. Marsh, The Story of the Jubilee Singers: With Their Songs (Houghton Mifflin 1881): 116.
  13. ^ "The Beginning of Jubilee Singing" The Lyceum Magazine (April 1920): 1819.
  14. ^ Lynn Abbott, Doug Seroff, Out of Sight: The Rise of African American Popular Music, 1889-1895 (University Press of Mississippi 2002): 89, 190. ISBN 9781604730395
  15. ^ Delilah Leontium Beasley, The Negro Trail Blazers of California (Times Mirror 1919): 214.
  16. ^ Ella Sheppard Moore, "The Original Jubilee Singers" The American Missionary (June 1902): 358.
  17. ^ "Gleanings from All Parts" Chicago Defender (June 4, 1910): 3. via ProQuest
  18. ^ Saundra Ivey, "Fisk Grads Told Blacks Must Still Battle High Unemployment" The Tennessean (May 16, 1978): 5. via

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