Sissieretta Jones was born Matilda Sissieretta Joyner in Portsmouth, Virginia, but was raised primarily in Providence, RI. She was an internationally known opera singer who studied at the Providence Academy of Music, but had deep musical roots at her father’s church, The Pond Street Baptist Church. Her nickname was “the black patti” in reference to italian opera singer Adelina Patti. Jones performed at the White House for former US Presidents Benjamin Harrison and Theodore Roosevelt and the British Royal Family. She is the first African American to sing at what is presently known as Carnegie Hall, formerly called The Music Hall in New York. After returning to Providence in 1896, Jones was recruited to be the star of the “Black Patti Troubadours” a traveling group that included dancers, comedians, singers, and other performers. This became an extremely successful cohort, granting Jones great fame and income. Sissieretta retired from performing in 1915 and remained in Providence until her death.
– Written by Keila Davis
Sissieretta Carnegie Hall
Newspaper Ad for the Black Patti Troubadours
Newspaper Illustration of Ms. Jones adorned in some of the many awards and honors she received during her world tours