Carson to lead program on African American spirituals

Published 10:15 am Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dr. Warren Carson will present “Explore the Spiritual: A Gift of Story and Song,” Thursday, Sept. 8 at 6:30 p.m. at Tryon Fine Arts Center (TFAC).

Dr. Warren Carson

The program will consist of an introduction to spirituals, their beginnings, their various uses, their popularization by the Fisk Jubilee Singers and how others such as Frederick Douglass, W.E.B. dubois and James Weldon Johnson immortalized them. There will be singing and the audience will be invited to participate.
Carson is a native of Tryon. He earned degrees in English and African American studies from UNC Chapel Hill (B.A.), Atlanta University (M.A.) and the University of South Carolina (PhD). He has spent 38 years as a teacher and an administrator, the last 28 years at the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg ,where he is a tenured professor of English and currently associate vice chancellor for academic affairs.
Carson was recently elected president of the College Language Association, an international organization of scholars and teachers of language and literature, principally of the African Diaspora.
Warren has a long record of community service, having served as an elected local government official for 17 years, as well as on a number of boards and commissions, including president of the Roseland Community Center, chair of the Eastside Citizens Advisory Committee, the Isothermal Community College board of trustees (four years as chairman), the board of social services, the Polk County Library board of trustees, St. Luke’s Hospital, Sherman College and Tryon Fine Arts Center.
Now retired, Carson has nearly 40 years of experience as a choir director, having served 30 years as music director at the Garrison Chapel Baptist Church, 25 years as the director of the USC Upstate Gospel Choir and founder/director of the Eastside Fellowship Choir.
Explore the Arts programs are on the first Thursday of each month from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. in the Mahler Family Board Room at TFAC. Following a short reception, the presentation begins at 7 p.m.  For further information, call TFAC at 828-859-8322 or visit
– article submitted by Marianne Carruth

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