woman, Eva jessye

Eva Jessye Salute

Event information

February 08, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Location: Bicknell Center for the Performing Arts, Linda & Lee Scott Performance Hall

Address: 1711 S Homer St, Pittsburg, KS 66762

Event details

Join us for an evening celebrating the life and legacy of Kansas native Dr. Eva Jessye. Jessye served as Artist in Residence at PSU from 1978-1981.  

Jessye spent her life devoted to art. She made great strides in her field as a Black female minority. Jessye was the first Black woman to win international distinction as a director of a professional choral group.  

In 1953 Jessye became the chorus trainer for George Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, the first true American opera. Later, the Eva Jessye Choir toured internationally giving concerts in war-torn Europe. Jessye walked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963 during his civil rights march; her group was the official choir for the event. 

Jessye traveled the world sharing her Kansas roots through music and the rhythm of her poetry. She returned to Kansas late in life and continued to produce works of music and poetry well into her 90s. Eva Jessye, the "grand dame of Black music in America," died in 1992. 

The night will be one to honor her life. Featuring performances of her musical arrangements, poetry, and narrations. Come early to view a display of her photos and memorabilia in the Bicknell Gallery. This event will be free to the public.   


All information and images were sourced from the Kansas Historical Society. 

Contact information

Lydia Bechtel


(620) 583-4538