On June 15, soprano Sissieretta Jones performs in the lower-level Recital Hall (today’s Zankel Hall).

For years, Jones has been thought to be the first African American to appear at Carnegie Hall, but we now know that in April and May of 1892 pianist W. T. Talbert gave two recitals in the Chamber Music Hall (today’s Weill Recital Hall). While little is known about Talbert, he is believed to have been Walter T. (Thad) Talbert, brother-in-law to Mary Burnett Talbert, a founder of the NAACP.

Sharing his recital programs were African Americans Tillie Jones Thomas, soprano; Deseria Plato, mezzo-soprano; George Boardley, tenor; Walter Craig, violinist; and Henry T. Burleigh, noted composer, baritone, and pianist.

On February 13, 1893, Jones returned to perform in the main hall (today’s Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage).

Photograph by Addison Scurlock, Courtesy Rare Books and Manuscripts, Columbia University

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