Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

July 8, 1933

On July 8, 1933, the Norfolk Journal and Guide reported that soprano Matilda Sissieretta Jones had died. Jones, who became internationally famous in the 1890s, was frequently called “Black Patti“ in reference to Italian opera singer Adelina Patti. Jones “sang with great success before royalty of many countries and in all of the principal cities of Europe,” the Journal and Guide reported. “She later headed her own company, an aggregation of talented performers of that day, known as the ‘Black Patti Troubadours’ which played in every important city of America, the West Indies, and Central American with sensational success.”

Jones’s death was front page news in the Chicago Defender, “‘Black Patti,’ Once Famous Stage Star, Dies.”

For more on Sissieretta Jones, see Maureen Lee, Sissieretta Jones: “The Greatest Singer of Her Race,” 1868–1933 (University of South Carolina Press, 2012).

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