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JANUARY 5, 1868 - JUNE 24, 1933

Matilda Sissieretta Jones was known as “the Black Patti,” a reference to frequent comparisons with the acclaimed white soprano Adelina Patti. She was one of the early African American singers to be recognized as a professional concert artist. During her early career, she toured with traveling troupes, including the Tennessee Jubilee Singers and the Tennessee Concert Company. Her solo career began in the early 1890s and Jones was invited to sing at the White House by President Benjamin Harrison in 1892; she later returned to perform there for Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt. In 1894, she headed the Black Patti Concert Company, a group of performers who toured the United States and Europe. She also founded the Black Patti Troubadours two years later. This group performed specialty and vaudeville acts, as well as operatic excerpts. Sissieretta Jones retired from performing in 1915.

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Video Credit: PBS

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