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Person
WILLS Wallace

WILLS
Wallace

Composer

Profession: Composer

Biography

Wallace Willis was a Choctaw freedman living in the Indian Territory, in what is now Choctaw County, near the city of Hugo, Oklahoma, US. His dates are unclear: perhaps 1820 to 1880. He is credited with composing (probably before 1860) several Negro spirituals. Willis received his name from his owner, Britt Willis, probably in Mississippi, the ancestral home of the Choctaws. He died, probably in what is now Atoka County, Oklahoma, as his unmarked grave is located there. He was famous

Before the Civil War Willis and his wife, Aunt Minerva, were sent by their owner to work at the Spencer Academy where the superintendent, Reverend Alexander Reid, heard them singing. In 1871 Reid was at a performance of the Jubilee Singers of Fisk University and thought the songs he had heard the Willises singing were better than those of the Jubilee Singers. He furnished them to the group, which performed them in the United States and Europe. Many are now famous, including "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Steal Away To Jesus". He was very famous for His Songs, which He sang with her Wife 'Aunt Minerva'

It is sometimes said that the songs credited to Willis had actually been written by unknown composers, but there is no record of any of the songs until they were performed by the Jubilee Singers.

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Mentioned together

English professional rugby union player
1 place
former professional rugby player
2 place
English former rugby union player
3 place

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