Georgia Taylor, an original Jubilee Singer

Georgia Taylor
Sun, 1855-04-22

Georgia Gordon Taylor’s birth in 1855 is celebrated on this date. She was an African American vocalist.

From Nashville, Tennessee, she had a mulatto mother, Mercy Duke Gordon and a slave father, George Gordon. Mercy's mother was white, and the law required that children of free mothers were free. Mercy had another child, Elwina, fathered by a white man (a "Doctor Warner") before she married Gordon. Gordon was allowed to live in his free spouse's household, hire out his own time, and pay part of his wages to his owner. Mercy and George had two children: Governor B. and Georgia.

She entered Fisk in 1868, a student in the literary department and took music lessons from George L. White before becoming a Jubilee Singer in 1872. At eighteen, she was with the first group of vocalists to tour the United States and Europe in 1872-73, when the Jubilee Singers appeared before Queen Victoria in England. After returning to America, she married the Reverend Preston Taylor, founder of Greenwood Cemetery and Lea Avenue Christian (Disciples of Christ) Church.

The couple had one child, Preston G. Taylor. She became her husband's constant companion, but she gave freely of her singing ability as a soprano soloist throughout Nashville's Black community. Following her death in 1913, Georgia Gordon Taylor was buried in Nashville's Greenwood Cemetery. In 1978, Walter Leonard, president of Fisk University, posthumously awarded Taylor a bachelor’s degree.

EBONY Pictorial History of Black America
By the editors of Ebony, Vol. 1 through 4
Copyright 1971, Johnson Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill
ISBN 0-87485-049-5

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Taylor, Georgia