Jester Hairston collection, 1910-1998


This collection has:

45.85 cubic ft., 10 digital objects

Jester Hairston (1901-2000), A 1929, H 1972, worked as composer, arranger, singer, conductor, and actor. He is known primarily as one of a small number of African American composers whose work transformed African-American spirituals into an accepted genre of choral music. Hairston was a prolific composer. He is most famous for "Amen," a spiritual so "authentic" many did not realize Hairston had composed it. The song was made famous through the film "Lilies of the Field;" Hairston performed the song, dubbing for lead actor, Sidney Poitier. In addition to composing film scores, Hairston composed or arranged more than 300 choral spirituals, including popular compositions "Elijah" and "Mary's Little Boy Child." Hairston received an honorary degree from Tufts on June 6 1972.

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