Celebrate Sissieretta Jones with Three Days of Free Events

The 150th anniversary celebratation ackowledges America's first black diva, an prominent opera singer who lived in Providence.

Sissieretta Jones. Photo from Stages of Freedom.

Celebrate the life of legend Sissieretta Jones – America’s first black diva – with a 150th anniversary celebration that includes seven events taking place over three days, June 7-9. Sissieretta Jones was a prominent black opera singer, born 150 years ago this month. As America’s first black opera superstar and a resident of Providence, Jones left a mark on our city, the nation and the world that is only now being recognized and appreciated.

Ray Rickman, from Stages of Freedom, has helped organize three days of free events to celebrate her life on the same weekend as PVD Fest. There are walking tours, a concert and other events to acknowledge her influence on Providence. All events are free and open to the public.

Rickman and Stages of Freedom also launched a GoFundMe campaign to be able to provide Sissieretta’s unmarked grave with a headstone. There will be a ceremony for the headstone at her unmarked grave on Saturday, June 9 at 5 p.m., that includes a procession to Grace Church Cemetery, followed by a reception at the Southside Cultural Center.

See the schedule of events below:


Thursday, June 7 at 5 p.m.

Exhibit opening: Sissieretta Jones: The Greatest Singer of Her Race

Stages of Freedom Museum, 10 Westminster St., Providence


Thursday, June 7 at 7 p.m.

One-woman play: The Sun is Shining: Sissieretta Jones

The Pavillion at Grace Church, 300 Westminster St., Providence


Friday, June 8 at 10 a.m.

Gallery Talk and Tea: “Finding Sissieretta: Creating the Exhibit”

Stages of Freedom Museum, 10 Westminster St., Providence


Friday, June 8 at 5 p.m.

Keynote: Author Maureen Lee and Archivist Gino Francesconi of Carnegie Hall

Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit St., Providence


Saturday, June 9 at 9 a.m.

Walking tour of Sissieretta Jones Historic Sites

Point of Origin: Stages of Freedom Museum, 10 Westminster St., Providence


Saturday, June 9 at 2 p.m.

Concert: Sissieretta Jones and Her Music

Congdon Street Baptist Church, 17 Congdon St., Providence


Saturday, June 9 at 5 p.m.

Headstone Ceremony for Sissieretta’s Unmarked Grave

Reception: Southside Cultural Center, 393 Broad St., Providence

Procession to Grace Church Cemetery, Broad Street and Elmwood Avenue, Providence


Please register for the keynote and walking tour here.

For more information, go to stagesoffreedom.org/sissieretta-jones or call 401-421-0606



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