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Black Voices History

Devoted To the History and blessed path
that has led our souls to god's promise

Black Voices was founded by three inspired young men and continued as a ministry of music.

In February of 1972, Mr. Ronnie E. Dottory had an idea for Black History Week.  He said, "Why don't we sing?"  Ronnie had a good understanding of how well we sang because most of the Black males sung while taking their showers in Critz Hall.

Ronnie, being the kind guy that he was, said that he would get a few of the Black females in the area to join them for their big Black History debut.  Sure enough, the females joined, and together they rehearsed a minimum of twice a week which became the standard for the Black Voices rehearsals.  The membership grew, and persons such as:  Melvin Smith, Wylene Tate, Precilla Dean, Leon Adams, Charles McBride, Marilyn Windbush, Emily Windbush, Sarah Sturdivant, Brooks Kimbrough, Tim Holbrook, Leandrew "Skip" Taylor, and John Madison joined.

Every song was meticulously rehearsed until it was perfected; this became the standard.  Many hours went into preparing for the February 1972 performance.  They filled Lee Hall, a 1200-seat auditorium, at their major concert that year.  This annual concert paved the way for many more major concerts to follow.  They sang songs such as:

"Wade in the Water"
"Soon I Will be Done"
"Oh Happy Day"
"Born Again: Long Ago"
"Why was the Docky Born"

This marked an end for the choir, but then a young person with a heart of continuum stepped forward...


Mr. Charles H. McBride stepped forth to direct the choir and keep the group motivated.  The student pianist, Ms. Emily Windbush, also stayed.  Again for a semester, the choir continued to sing throughout local churches, communities and neighboring cities.  Finally, Mr. McBride felt that his schedule would not allow him to take the group any further.  After much deliberation, the Sustainer stepped forward.

Mr. Leon Adams became leader of the group.  However, Emily Windbush had to relinquish her active support in light of academic endeavors.  [Editor's Note: Emily was paraphrased saying, "After all, we were going to school to get an education,  [Hmm...can't we all relate?]  However, Mr. Adams remembered a young man he had met through one of the university's custodians.  The young man could play piano quite well.  As a matter of fact, he was probably one of the best in Starkville, MS and later became recognized for his greatness.  This person was non other than Mr. Carroll Washington.

When Mr. Adams approached Mr. Washington requesting that he play for the choir, he immediately said yes.  He said, " You know I am the Minister of Music at Ebenezer Baptist Church and I will have to work around that."  The choir had to pray constantly and was very much in the presence of God.  Black Voices went on to receive much acclaim by the community, neighboring cities, churches, military installations, and even the President of Mississippi State University.

This simple interest group years later received recognition by the University which resulted in the provision of robes and transportation for the choir.

The Black Voices continued to sing from 1972 to date.  In 1996, the number of former members of Black Voices of Mississippi State University was approaching 2,000.  All of the members that have passed through this group owe so much to Mr. Carroll Washington who today remains the oldest active member of the choir.  The same professionalism and music quality can still be found within the group.  Perhaps, if one would look close enough, one would find Black Voices members in professional choirs, even the Mississippi Mass Choir....

History provided by Leon Adams, P.E.

   © 2013 Black Voices of MSU                                  2013: THE YEAR OF RESTORATION                                Site designed by Justin Johnson