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Dr Eva A Jessye
Birth: Jan. 20, 1895
Montgomery County
Kansas, USA
Death: Feb. 21, 1992
Washtenaw County
Michigan, USA

Composer, Choir Director. The first black woman to gain note as a conductor, she was a key participant in several significant musical projects. Raised in Kansas, she was educated at her native state's Western University and at Oklahoma's Langston University, earning her degree in 1919. In the early 1920s she taught at Morgan State College in Baltimore, then in Oklahoma, before returning to Baltimore where in 1926 she organized the Original Dixie Jubilee Singers, a group that was to sing regularly at New York's Capitol Theater with Eugene Ormandy and on radio. Changing the ensemble's name to the Eva Jessye Choir in 1929, she took them to Hollywood where they appeared in the movie "Hallelujah", with Dr. Jessye serving as the musical director. A part of the Harlem Renaissance, she collaborated in 1933 with composer Virgil Thompson and author Gertrude Stein in the Broadway presentation of Thompson's opera "Four Saints in Three Acts", then in 1935 she served as the music director for the Boston world premiere of George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess". Dr. Jessye published a number of her own compositions including "My Spirituals" (1927), "The Life of Christ in Negro Spirituals (1931), 1934's "Paradise Lost and Regained", and the 1936 "The Chronicle of Job". She was even seen on screen a few times, numbering among her credits "Hallelujah", "Black Like Me" (1964), "Slaves" (1969), and the 1959 Hallmark Hall of Fame presentation of "Kiss Me Kate". A professor at the University of Michigan for many years, she remained active well into her 80s; her archives are housed in Ann Arbor and at Kansas' Pittsburg State University. She died in a nursing home of the complications of advanced age. (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
Forest Hill Cemetery
Ann Arbor
Washtenaw County
Michigan, USA
Plot: Block 79 Lot 4A
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: Sep 22, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 59043573
Dr Eva A Jessye
Added by: randy pruitt
Dr Eva A Jessye
Added by: Twist
Dr Eva A Jessye
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Added by: Angela Peters
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