Folk Song Of The American Negro - Online Book

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106
FOLK SONG OF THE AMERICAN NEGRO.
When the Metropolitan newspapers called the company "Nigger Minstrels," Mr. White was face to face with a situation as serious as it was awkward. His company had no appropriate name, and the odium of the title attributed by the New York newspapers pained him intensely. If they were to be known as "Nigger Minstrels/' they could never realize his vision; they were both handicapped and checkmated, and their career was dead. One whole night he spent in prayer, and his little band of pupils have borne witness that the next morning his face shone as if, like Moses, he had spoken with God "face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend." The sug-gestiveness of the Hebrew Jubilee had been borne in upon his mind, and with the joy of a deep conviction he exclaimed, "Children, you are the Jubilee Singers."
From 1871 to 1878 that company enjoyed one continuous ovation. New England crowded her largest buildings and paid liberally to hear them sing. Mr. White began to send back to Professor Spence hundreds of dollars to add to that one lonely dollar held back to keep from having an empty treasury.
After a most astounding and unexpected success in this country plans were made for touring England. They sang their way into the good graces of the whole of Great Britain from the queen down to the peasant. The queen, the Duke of Argyle, Lord Shaftesbury and Mr. Gladstone did them especial honor, and their concerts were very largely attended. They were the sensation of the kingdom. Not simply because they were strange and novel, but because their sing�ing and their music made a deep impression upon the hearts of all who heard them. Mr. Gladstone gave absorbing attention as they sang for him, and his spontaneous comment was, "Isn't it wonder�ful !" The good Queen Victoria wept, and declared that she had re�ceived no such comfort as this, from any other source, since the death of her consort. Dwight L, Moody, who was conducting evangelistic services in London at the time, used them whenever he could get them, and hundreds were converted to the better life. The English people paid large sums to hear them sing and loaded them down with gifts and gratitude.
The English Independent, April 2, 1874, in an article, "Jubilee singers at Edetan Hall," states:
"Lord Shaftesbury, at the close, said they had received the singers with the deepest sympathy and now rejoiced at the greatness of








E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III