Matilda Sissieretta Joyner Jones (1868-1933) African-American soprano sometimes called "The Black Patti" in reference to Italian opera singer Adelina Patti. In June 1892, Jones became the first African-American to sing at the Music Hall in New York (Now known as Carnegie Hall.) Touring internationally in the late 1800s and early 1900s, she sang both classical opera and performed in musical comedies with her own troupe. Photo taken 1889.
Leontyne Price (born 1927) by Bradley Phillips (1929-1991).Regardless of their talents, African American singers were for years generally barred from performing with this country's more prestigious opera companies. In 1952, when audiences experienced the rich voice of Mississippi-born soprano Leontyne Price in a revival of Porgy and Bess, it became clear that this long-standing barrier would soon be breached.