Notice: The Kennedy Center will be open from 5 p.m. to midnight today, however the box office can be accessed starting at 10 a.m. and all events will take place as scheduled. View details

The Kennedy Center

The Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers


“Dedicated to the Preservation of the Negro Spiritual”

The Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers are group of singers who are passionate about African-American Sacred Music and Negro Spirituals and about educating audiences about them. Unlike other spiritual choruses, the Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers (DCJS) is unique in that It is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation, whose sole mission is to preserve the unique American art form of the formal concert-style Negro Spiritual, to educate audiences about the spirituals, and to use this music’s themes of sorrow, despair and hope to promote racial healing and social justice. It has many affiliations with the world-renowned School of Music at Ithaca College, including the directorship of Dr. Baruch J. Whitehead, IC associate professor of music education, and over 20 IC voice students, who perform many of the solos. It hosts over 80 members of different ages (18 to 80), heritages and backgrounds, including numerous Cornell deans, faculty, staff, alumni and retirees and a host of community members, such as educators, a physician, veterinarian, lawyer, accountant, chaplain, and farmer.

In 2007, the 110th U.S. Congress declared that the African American Spiritual was a “National Treasure” of the United States.

The DCJS welcomes all people regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual preference, political views or socio-economic status. Our singers share a common love of this remarkable body of music and the fervent belief that this music still carries the power to bring social justice to our world.

The group is named in honor of civil rights pioneer Dorothy Cotton, a resident of Ithaca, who served as education director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and continues to spread her message of freedom and hope to people around the world through music.

Watch Past Performances

Video 5/14/2017: The Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers

The Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers of Ithaca, New York is a group of community singers named in honor of current Ithaca resident Dorothy Cotton, a civil rights pioneer who served as education director for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Founded in 2010, the group is dedicated to the preservation of and education about the “Negro Spirituals.” Director Baruch Whitehead introduces the different songs with narration about their hidden meanings, history, or significance to enslaved Africans of the time.

  The Dorothy Cotton Jubilee Singers