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Hairston (Jester) Collection
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Materials created and collected by and about Jester Hairston, and administrative materials related to Hairston's centennial celebration. Materials include manuscripts, music and lyrics, articles, and administrative files.
Jester Hairston was an actor, composer, song writer, arranger, choral conductor, Goodwill Ambassador for the United States, and an expert on Spirituals. He is best known as an actor for his roles in the television sitcom "Amen" and radio and television version of "Amos n Andy." As a song writer he is best known for the song "Amen" which he wrote and recorded for the film "Lilies of the Valley", but over his life he composed over 300 other Spirituals, and was the choral director for Hollywood's first integrated choir. He was born in Belews Creek, North Carolina, the grandson of a slave, and was raised in Pittsburgh. He enrolled in college in 1920 at Massachusetts Agriculture to study Landscape Architecture, and though he did not finish a degree at that time, he was later awarded a honorary Doctorate in 1972, and given the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Department of Music and Dance in 1992. After leaving Massachusetts he attended and graduated from Tufts University 1928, and studied music at the Juliard School. In addition to his work with choirs and spirituals in the United States, he performed folk music and spirituals all over the world in the 1960s as a Goodwill Ambassador. He died in Los Angeles at the age of 98 in the year 2000, is buried in Inglewood, California, and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
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All requests for permission to publish or quote from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.
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