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July 27, 2020

A Celebration of Sissieretta Jones (1868-1933): First African-American Woman to Headline Carnegie Hall

This 11-minute documentary short about trailblazing Black soprano Sissieretta Jones is part of the PBS American Masters episode, Unladylike2020: Unsung Women Who Changed America, and can be viewed at until August 8th.

Featured in the segment discussing the talents and influence of this American original are soprano and MSM faculty member Harolyn Blackwell, along with mezzo-soprano and distinguished MSM alumna J’Nai Bridges (BM ’09).

A opera pioneer

In 1892, Sissieretta Jones became the first Black woman to headline a concert on the main stage at Carnegie Hall. Jones was heralded as the greatest singer of her generation and a pioneer in the operatic tradition at a time when access to most classical concert halls in the U.S. were closed to black performers and patrons. She also performed at the White House and abroad.