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Collection Overview

Historical Note

Scope and Content Note


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Collection Overview
Name of Creator:Ross, John Andrew, 1940–2006.
Title:John Ross papers
Date: 1963–2006
Reference Code: M70
Location Code: 55/2-3, FF5/D4
Extent: 6.45 cubic ft. (7 boxes)
Scope and Content Abstract:The John Ross papers document his work as music director of Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts and National Center of Afro–American Artists, and his professional activities outside of them. The majority of the collection concerns musical arrangements and performances of either Ross or the National Center of Afro–American Artists. These include sheet music, scripts, advertisements, programs, and cast lists. The Sheet Music Arrangements consist of John Ross's personal and professional arrangements. Documentation of the annual Black Nativity figures prominently in the collection as does his arrangements of popular hymns and gospels. The collection also contains administrative, programmatic, audiovisual, and student records of Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts and National Center of Afro–American Artists.
Historical Abstract:John Andrew Ross was an accomplished African–American composer, organist, choral conductor, and jazz musician. Born in Boston on December 15, 1940, Ross became the music director at the Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts in 1970. Working with the school and its parent organization, the National Center of Afro–American Artists, he lead two widely recognized music ensembles, the Voices of Black Persuasion and the Contra–Band. Starting in 1970, Ross became the musical director of the highly acclaimed Langston Hughes gospel play, Black Nativity, a position he held until his death in 2006.
Language and Scripts:
Arrangement:Arranged in alphabetical sequence.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Lewis, Elma
  • Ross, John Andrew

  • Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts
  • Museum of the National Center of Afro–American Artists
  • National Center of Afro–American Artists

  • African American art –– Massachusetts –– Boston
  • African American artists –– Massachusetts –– Boston
  • African American music –– Massachusetts –– Boston
  • African American theater –– Massachusetts –– Boston
  • African Americans –– Education –– Massachusetts –– Boston

Restrictions:The collection is unrestricted.
Requests for permission to publish material from this collection should be discussed with the University Archivist.
Related Materials:

Elma Ina Lewis papers (M38)
Elma Lewis School of Fine Arts (M43)
Museum of the National Center of Afro–American Artists (M44)
National Center of Afro–American Artists (M42)

Processor:Finding aid prepared by Stein Helmrich, February 2002. Finding aid updated by Cheryl Ostrowski, June 2012.