From October 27 through November 1, Fisk’s Special Collections and Archives will commemorate Archives Week with an exhibit featuring artifacts from its music and manuscript collections on the first floor of the John Hope and Aurelia Elizabeth Franklin Library.
In accordance with the Society of American Archivists 2008 theme “Archives City Limits-Music, Sounds and Pop Culture Archives,” the Fisk display will showcase original manuscripts, scores, journals, autographs and documents from the collections of the renowned Fisk Jubilee Singers, prolific gospel music composer Thomas Dorsey, pianist and ragtime music pioneer Scott Joplin, Fisk alumnus and bandleader Jimmie Lunceford in addition to artifacts contributed in the 1970s to the Fisk University Institute for Research in Black Music.
“[The collections] call national attention to the role of music in the global black diaspora, particularly as we know that the Singers introduced the Negro spiritual to the world; as Dorsey reintroduced blues-based black gospel music in churches, became known for his familiar “Precious Lord, Take My Hand,” and was recognized as the “Father of Gospel Music;” and as the music institute preserved and promoted the legacy of black American music,” said Fisk University Librarian Dr. Jessie C. Smith.
“With this exhibit, we are not only highlighting our resources but the contributions of these great artists who’s melodies shaped our nation’s contributions to the arts,” said Fisk University Special Collections Librarians Beth Howse. Howse, along with archival assistants Uzoma Miller and Mattie McHolland and library assistant Vanessa Smith, maintain the University’s collections and artifacts in the Franklin Library.
“Archives Week focues on the dynamic aspects of our artifacts,” Miller said. “The materials that are included in the exhibit illustrate the broader implications and influences of Joplin, The Jubilee Singers, Dorsey and musicians such as Fisk alumnus and composer Jimmy Lunceford on popular culture.”
Fisk Special Collections houses fifteen music-related collections that include the George Gershwin Memorial Collection of Music and Literature, John Wesley Work III Collection and the Jimmie Lunceford Collection of Music and Memorabilia. The collections are open to students as well as visitors.