Photo credits: H. Lawrence Freeman Collection/Rare Book & Manuscript Library/Columbia University
Black music history was made in America during the late nineteenth century.
The first African American performers played at Carnegie Hall on February 13, 1892. The World’s Fair Colored Opera Company was the name of the ensemble. Matilda Sissieretta Jones (aka Black Patti), a legendary soprano, performed a solo act during this historic occasion.
Soprano Sissieretta Jones (pictured) also sang at Carnegie Hall in June of 1892. It was for a concert organized by a black cultural circle called The Sons of New York. This was toward the close of Carnegie Hall’s first full musical season. This concert was held on the lower level of the hall, in the 1200-seat recital division (today known as Zankel Hall).
Jones returned eight months later to perform at a fundraiser for the World’s Fair Colored Opera Company in Carnegie Hall’s main pavilion.