The Eileen Southern Initiative was pleased to announce a series of events honoring pioneering music scholar Eileen Southern (1920-2002), the first Black woman tenured at Harvard's Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
The Aeolians of Oakwood University (Huntsville, AL), an award-winning choral ensemble, traveled to Cambridge April 7-9, 2022, for a weekend residency. The group was founded in 1946 by Eva Beatrice Dykes, a professor of English at Oakwood who in 1921 had become the first Black woman to earn a doctoral degree from Radcliffe College (the women's college affiliated with Harvard).
A webinar, concert, masterclass, and community sing in Southern's honor helped to share her story and to continue her work of celebrating the rich legacy of Black music in the United States.
Thursday April 7, 2022
4:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m | Watch the recording here
Marva Griffin Carter, Georgia State University
Guthrie P. Ramsey, University of Pennsylvania
Braxton D. Shelley, Yale University
Carol J. Oja, Harvard University
Friday April 8, 2022
7:00 p.m.–7:40 p.m | Sanders Theatre, Memorial Hall
Emmett G. Price III, moderator
Marques L. A. Garrett
Rosephanye Dunn Powell
8:00 p.m.–10:00 p.m. | Sanders Theatre, Memorial Hall
The Aeolians of Oakwood University, Kuumba Singers of Harvard College, and Harvard Choruses
The program featured premieres of works by Marques L. A. Garrett and Rosephanye Powell in honor of Eileen Southern.
Watch the recording of the pre-concert conversation and concert here:
Saturday April 9, 2022
9:00 a.m. | Sanders Theatre, Memorial Hall
Co-sponsored by National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), Boston
11:00 a.m.–12:30 p.m. | Sciene Center Plaza Tent
Co-sponsored by the Office for the Arts, Harvard Common Spaces, and the Massachusetts American Choral Directors' Association
This family-friendly event encouraged participants to experience the joy of singing together with community members and over 250 singers from the Aeolians, Kuumba Singers, and Harvard Choruses. Five renowned choral directors led participants through a program of songs from our country’s greatest choral tradition: the music of Black Americans. Selections included well-known songs and short, easy-to-learn pieces that the conductors taught to participants.
Jason Max Ferdinand
Marques L. A. Garrett
Eileen Southern Initiative Exhibits
Digital exhibit, ongoing.
Exhibit in Harvard’s Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, Richard F. French Gallery, 2nd floor, through Monday, April 11, 2022.
Harvard Radcliffe Institute
The Office for the Arts at Harvard
Harvard Department of Music
The Presidential Initiative on Harvard and the Legacy of Slavery
Provostial Fund for the Arts and Humanities
Harvard Common Spaces
Questions? Please contact the Eileen Southern Initiative at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Department of Music at 617-495-2791.