Main Content

Rubenstein Center Scholarship

Jubilee Singers at the White House

Transcription of an 1882 newspaper article on their performance for President Chester Arthur

Photograph of The Fisk University Jubilee Singers, the first African American choir to perform at the White House, circa 1881.

Fisk University, Franklin Library Special Collections

By appointment the colored Fisk Jubilee singers, accompanied by Rev. Dr. Rankin, called yesterday to pay their respects to President Arthur, and while there sang several melodies, among them "Safe in the Arms of Jesus," which actually moved the President to tears. "I never saw a man so deeply moved," said Rev. Dr. Rankin, speaking of the incident last night, "and I shall always believe President Arthur to be a truly good man." The President frankly informed his visitors, after thanking them, that he had never before been guilty of so impulsive an exhibition of his feelings.