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Hayes, Roland, 1887-1977 | Boston Public Library Archival and Manuscript Finding Aid Database

Name: Hayes, Roland, 1887-1977


Historical Note: The son of former slaves, Roland Hayes was born in Curryville, Georgia in 1887. By 1905, Hayes was studying at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he began to sing and tour with the Fisk Jubilee singers. After a 1911 concert in Boston, Hayes decided to move to the city in the hopes of furthering a professional singing career in the North. Unable to find a manager willing to sponsor an African-American singer, Hayes arranged and financed his own concerts between 1916 and 1919. Performing both classical songs, such as German lieder, and African-American spirituals, Hayes embarked on several cross-country tours which included concerts at Symphony Hall in Boston. In 1920, Hayes began to perform in Europe, where he soon gained international acclaim and was invited to sing in front of King George V and Queen Mary of England. Upon his return to the United States in 1922, Hayes succeeded in hiring a manager to take over the duties of arranging his schedule. Hayes continued to perform until 1962, and gave his farewell concert at Carnegie Hall at the age of 75. He died in Boston in 1977.
Note Author: Lauren Pey





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