Thursday, February 24, 2011

Scotland, then home

After a successful concert tour in England, theh Jubilee singers spent their winter concertizing in Scotland.  As in England, they were welcomed warmly and performed almost daily.

They returned to Nashville at the end of the school year, exhausted but having been successful in securing cash donations and a donation of books for the library.

Maggie Porter, one of the group's best singers, had a personal mission while in England: to find her father.  After the war her father had left with other freedmen for Liberia to find work.  Liberia had been founded as a refuge for freed slaves before the war and continued to be a destination afterward.  Unfortunately for Maggie Porter, her father seems to have disappeared after signing on with a company of freedmen.  She attempted to find him through contacts she made while traveling in England.  Sadly, no word ever came from or about him.

After her second year at Fisk, Maggie took a position as a school teacher at a small town school for black children.  During Christmas break the school was burned, probably by local whites who disapproved of education for blacks.

Back at Fisk, Maggie was able to assume the role of Queen, as Esther in the Handel Oratorio, Esther.  Audiences in England who read Maggie's story in the commemorative songbooks probably wondered at the quickly changing fortunes of freed slaves who were treated like royalty in England and at Fisk and yet continued to face racism in daily life.

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