This Week on American Black Journal:

African American tenor, trailblazer George Shirley reflects on his storied career

As one of the first African American operatic performers, renowned tenor and trailblazer George Shirley’s contributions to the world of opera and his enduring commitment to music education have left an indelible mark on the industry. Notably, he was the first African American tenor and the second African American male to sing leading roles with the Metropolitan Opera, where he graced the stage for an impressive eleven years.  

His achievements extended beyond the spotlight as the first Black member of the United States Army Chorus in Washington, D.C. and the first African American to hold a high school music teaching post in Detroit. Shirley has a music education career spanning nearly five decades, and he is a Grammy Award-winning artist who has been passionate about the profound value of music education and the pivotal role it plays in nurturing future talent. 

In a candid and insightful discussion, Shirley sat down for an exclusive one-on-one conversation with 90.9 WRCJ contributor Cecelia Sharpe about his remarkable entry into the opera scene and his history as a music educator. He also talks about his dedication to championing classical works by Black composers and emphasizing the importance of recognizing and preserving this rich musical heritage. 

Detroit Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity marks 100 years of service with year-long anniversary celebration

In a momentous celebration, the Nu Omega Detroit Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. is commemorating its centennial as a cornerstone of service and leadership within the Detroit community. Established in 1923, the chapter holds the distinction of having one of the oldest continuously owned properties in the fraternity’s history, with its historic Omega House located at 235 East Ferry, Detroit, Michigan. As the largest chapter in the 10th District and one of the largest in the entire fraternity, Nu Omega Chapter has continually upheld its commitment to the betterment of Detroit’s African American community. 

Over the past century, the men of Nu Omega have actively engaged in numerous projects aimed at enhancing the lives of Detroit’s citizens. Their sponsorship of initiatives such as granting college scholarship awards to deserving students and conducting a national talent hunt to identify students with exceptional musical talents, have exemplified the fraternity’s continuous support for education and youth. Over the years, the chapter has generously donated more than $500,000 to the United Negro College Fund 

To shed light on the chapter’s activities for this momentous occasion, American Black Journal host Stephen Henderson had an engaging conversation with Dr. Michael Carrauthers, the chair of the anniversary committee and a past Nu Omega Basileus. Dr. Carrauthers delved into the rich history of the fraternity, highlighting its enduring commitment to service and leadership. The interview also explored the impressive accomplishments of some of Omega Psi Phi’s well-known Detroit members, emphasizing their contributions to the local community. 

Detroit Deltas celebrate 30 years of philanthropy at upcoming gala

The Detroit Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is gearing up for a momentous occasion as they prepare to commemorate the 30-year anniversary of their Minerva Education and Development Foundation (MEDF). The Oct. 29 gala will raise funds for scholarships and grants for local students and nonprofits.  

Founded in 1992 by visionary women from the chapter, the non-profit has left its mark on the community, pioneering a new tradition of philanthropy within the African American community through endowed and planned giving.  

In its early years, MEDF played a pivotal role in establishing the African American Legacy Program and was a frequent presenter at the National Conference on Black Philanthropy. Over the decades, the foundation has awarded over $600,000 in grants and scholarships, sustaining their mission of supporting local scholars and organizations focused on community services, education, arts, health, and economic development. 

“American Black Journal” host Stephen Henderson talks with the chair of the event, Jenice Mitchell Ford, about the mission of MEDF and the Detroit Deltas’ legacy of philanthropy and helping others

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Watch American Black Journal on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on Detroit Public TV, WTVS-Channel 56.