Harry Thacker Burleigh

All Categories Harry Thacker Burleigh Autograph Musical Qutation Signed

Harry Thacker Burleigh

Autograph Musical Qutation Signed - 1905

Autograph Musical Quotation Signed by Harry Thacker Burleigh, dated July 1905, with lyrics and musical notations also in his hand and inscribed to “Miss Kimball.” On 8″ x 3″ lined musical sheet, in remarkably fresh condition with virtually no toning whatsoever.

We can find no reference whatsoever to the authorship of this obscure tune, and various brief quotes of it found were simply attributed it to “Anonymous.” But as it’s unlikely Burleigh (or any composer, for that matter) would have penned someone else’s composition above his signature, it’s a good bet he is the author—making this not only a scarce Burleigh artifact, but a potentially important contribution to the history of African American spirituals. The full lyrics of the tune follow:

Keep On

Keep on looking for the bright, bright skies,
Keep on hoping that the sun will rise,
Keep on singing while the whole world sighs,
   And you’ll get there in the morning.

Keep on sowing when you’ve missed the crops,
Keep on dancing when the fiddle stops,
Keep on faithful till the curtain drops,
   And you’ll get there in the morning.

Harry Thacker Burleigh

Henry “Harry” Thacker Burleigh (1866-1949), a baritone, was an African American classical composer, arranger, and professional singer. He was the first black composer to be instrumental in the development of a characteristically American music and he helped to make black music available to classically trained artists both by introducing them to the music and by arranging the music in a more classical form.

Through the 1920s and 1930s, Burleigh continued to promote the spirituals through publications, lectures, and arrangements. His life-long advocacy for the spiritual eclipsed his singing career, and his arrangements of art songs. With the success of Roland Hayes, Marian Anderson, and Paul Robeson, among others, his seminal role in carving out a place on America’s recitals had been eclipsed. His many popular art songs from the early twentieth century have often been out of print since the composer’s death. Nevertheless, Burleigh’s position as one of America’s most important composers from the early twentieth century remains. Among his most

He was also the 1917 winner of the NAACP’s Spingarn Medal. The Spingarn Medal is awarded annually by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) for outstanding achievement by an African American.

The award, which consists of a gold medal, was created by Joel Elias Spingarn, Chairman of the Board of the NAACP in 1914. It was first awarded to biologist Ernest E. Just in 1915, and has been given each year thereafter, with the exception of 1938.


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