Negro Spirituals Heritage Day Honors Keepers of African American Traditions
The 12th Annual Negro Spirituals Heritage Day will take place on Saturday, October 17, 2015, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., at the San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, Koret Auditorium.
Negro Spirituals, declared a national treasure by the U.S. Congress, are religious songs created by enslaved Africans in the southern United States. Spirituals include such well-known songs as “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “Go Down, Moses,” “Ev’ry Time I Feel The Spirit,” and many more.
Negro Spirituals Heritage Day is presented by Friends of Negro Spirituals and the African American Center of the San Francisco Public Library to help keep this tradition alive. The event includes the The 2015 Negro Spirituals Heritage Keeper’s Award ceremony, presentations by the honorees, and community singing of Spirituals.
This year’s Negro Spirituals Heritage Keeper’s Award honorees are:
Ms. Robinson is a 26-year-old Negro Spirituals scholar and educator. An instructor at California State University, Dominguez Hills, she is a lecturer in Africana Studies. While Ms. Robinson was exposed to and sang Spirituals from a young age, her appreciation increased as an undergraduate when she began to research the Spirituals. Since that time, she has researched and presented on the Spirituals for classroom assignments, guest lectures, and conference presentations.
Eugene F. Jones (1924 – 2003) and The Echoes From Jordan
Mr. Jones was a celebrated operatic bass singer renowned for his broad repertoire of Negro Spirituals as well as operatic and classical music. He founded and directed The Echoes from Jordan, a disbanded Negro Spirituals singing ensemble that preserved Spirituals. He was a sought-after soloist with a celebrated career conducting community choruses and orchestras and was an educator in African American History with the Berkeley Community School System.
Light Devoy Edwin Harris (1933-2014)
Mr. Harris was the founder of the University of Light and founder and director of the University of Light Jubilee Singers. For 15 years, the University of Light Jubilee Singers sang Negro Spirituals together twice a week. Light arranged and lead concerts at hospitals, convalescent homes, churches, synagogues, and numerous other venues. The choir also sang Spirituals once a month at Episcopal Sanctuary Homeless Shelter Church, giving 112 concerts over a 7-year period.
About Friends of Negro Spirituals
Friends of Negro Spirituals was founded in 1998 by Lyvonne Crisman and Sam Edwards through the inspiration of Moses Hogan and The Moses Hogan Choral’s audio recording of De Battle of Jericho. We are a 501(c)(3) public education and cultural enrichment organization based in Oakland, California, and serves the greater Bay Area and the world at large.