Local Musicians and Programs in the Early 20th Century: 1923-1949
Fifty years after Peabody’s founding in 1857, Jim Crow laws pervaded cities and towns across America. Segregation and the exclusion of African-Americans was the norm in Baltimore, and Peabody was no exception to this, refusing to allow African-American musicians to enroll or even attend concerts. However, the African-American classical music community was thriving in Baltimore, starting programs like the Aeolian Conservatory, The Baltimore Institute of Musical Arts, and the Baltimore City Colored Orchestra and Chorus, and yielding musicians such as pianist Ellis Larkins, cellist and conductor W. Llewellyn Wilson, and soprano Anne Wiggins Brown.
Although Peabody offered some isolated off-campus programs for African-American musicians during this time, there is no record of Peabody directly engaging with the organizations listed above, and only minimal record of engagement with black musicians at all.