This pandemic has had an effect on all our longtime Nashville institutions. One has faced hardships many times before. Again, their plan is to persevere. 

Over more than a century, North Nashville's watched so much change, seen so much history, but there's been one constant. That constant's the beauty of the voices coming from Fisk University, singing together. 

Andrew M. Davis is part of a tradition known as the Fisk Jubilee Singers. 

"It came out of oppression, it came out of degradation, it came out of trials, it came out of turmoil," Davis said.

In the wake of the Civil War, Fisk University was a place to educate African Americans, but in 1871, it was facing bankruptcy. The Fisk Jubilee Singers toured the world, raising money to save their university. 

"If it wasn't for their initial sacrifice, Fisk wouldn't have even made it," said Davis.

Today, North Nashville is again going through history. The pandemic's meant the Fisk Jubilee Singers haven't been able to tour or take stages. For months after last March, they weren't even able to meet in person. 

"We tried having rehearsals on Zoom," said Davis.

They're now meeting again in Jubilee Hall, rehearsing spaced apart and recording performances to stream online. 

2021 marks 150 years of the Fisk Jubilee Singers. A portrait of some of the singers who came before hangs in Jubilee Hall. 

"It's our turn to step up and carry on that tradition," said Davis. "We're looking to beat this. We're making it."

The Fisk Jubilee Singers have been met with big news. They've just received a Grammy nomination for Best Roots Gospel Album. is now with you on the go! Get the latest news updates and video, 4WARN weather forecast, weather radar, special investigative reports, sports headlines and much more from News4 Nashville.

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Forrest Sanders is an award-winning reporter, videographer and editor at News4.

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