These are convincingly the hands of a story-teller: masterfully narrating tales of the struggle, sacrifice, and survival of a community of enslaved people through diasporic Spiritual music.
These are assuredly the hands of a choral conductor: directing and leading spiritual pieces in such a way that would break down racial and cultural barriers that not only plagued music, but the American Deep South as well.
These are distinctively the hands of a composer: allowing his music to touch the lives of generation after generation, leaving behind an inheritable legacy, while building the kind of unity that can only be accomplished by a lover of all people and a disciple of spiritual music.
The African Diaspora Sacred Music and Musicians Program of California State University Dominguez Hills and its Georgia and Nolan Payton Archive has undertaken the development of a 60-minute film, "Amen - the Life and Music of Jester Hairston". Hairston (1901 - 2000) was known for his work with the Negro Spiritual, Hairston was an internationally celebrated composer, conductor, actor, and educator.
Visit the Jester Hairston Film Project website at www.jesterhairston.com/