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Sat, 06.15.1901

John Wesley Work III, Composer born

John W. Work III

On this date, in 1901, John Wesley Work III was born. He was a Black composer, historian, and educator.

He was born into a family of professional musicians in Tullahoma, Tennessee.  He taught at Fisk University in Nashville and directed the Fisk Jubilee Singers from 1947 to 1956. He also served as chairman of the university's music department from 1950 to 1957.  He did his fieldwork and collecting of songs throughout the south and lectured widely while publishing articles on Black music in journals and music dictionaries.  He was highly respected as an authority in African American music. His grandfather, John W. Work, Sr., wrote The Gold and Blue, the Fisk University Alma Mater.

As a composer, John Work III is famous for his compositions "My Lord What A Morning," "Go Tell It On The Mountain," and "There’s A Meetin’ Here Tonight." His major contributions include "American Negro Songs and Spirituals" (1940) and "Jubilee" (1962). John Wesley Work III died on May 17, 1967.

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Fisk University
1000 Seventeenth Ave. North,
Nashville, TN 37208-3051.

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