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Lunch with the Libraries: Celebrating Ethel Ennis, Baltimore's First Lady of Jazz

With Raynetta Wiggins-Jackson, PhD | Tonika Berkley, MAA |

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Explore the singer's remarkable life and pioneering career path deeply rooted in her hometown.

Join Africana Archives Curatorial Fellow Raynetta Wiggins-Jackson, PhD and Africana Archivist Tonika Berkley for a virtual introduction to the exhibition Ethel's Place: Celebrating Ethel Ennis, Baltimore's First Lady of Jazz on view in the George Peabody Library Exhibit Gallery from October 22 - March 31. This first major exhibition devoted to Baltimore jazz vocalist Ethel Ennis (1932-2019) features photographs, unpublished written arrangements, posters and audiovisual recordings drawn from the Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries; Ethel Ennis and Earl Arnett Collection.

Tour the exhibition with Raynetta Wiggins-Jackson, PhD and Tonika Berkley on Wednesday, December 6th at 10AM at the Peabody Library, 17 E. Mount Vernon Place, Baltimore, Maryland 21201. Space is limited. To reserve your spot for the in-person tour, email and include the number in your party.

Follow these links to learn more about the Sheridan Libraries and how to join the Friends of the Johns Hopkins University Libraries.

About Raynetta Wiggins-Jackson, PhDexpand


Raynetta Wiggins-Jackson, PhD

Raynetta Wiggins-Jackson embraced the power of music, expressive art, and history during her formative years in Birmingham, AL. She later turned her interests into formal study earning a BA in music from Berea College and a MA and PhD in ethnomusicology from Indiana University. Her work has focused on the research, performance, and preservation of African American music with an emphasis on sacred music in film and media. She is also passionate about the intersections of education and community engagement and partners with artists and educators to research and celebrate the important contributions of African Americans in the arts. Recently, she served as the Manager of Choir Curriculum and Performance at a Washington, D.C. based arts organization, where she developed and coordinated educational and program content for their resident community choirs. She currently serves as an Africana Archives Curatorial Fellow with the Inheritance Baltimore program at Johns Hopkins University.


About Tonika Berkley, MAAexpand


Tonika Berkley, MAA

Tonika Berkley is the Africana Archivist for Special Collections at JHU Sheridan Libraries and is co-director of the Inheritance Baltimore’s Community Archives Program. She has her MAA in Applied Anthropology/Heritage from University of Maryland-College Park and her BA in Sociology/Anthropology from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County. Ms. Berkley is a historical researcher, museum educator, humanities facilitator and curator, and has worked for various museums and institutions in Baltimore, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia, including the Walters Art Museum, the Baltimore Museum of Industry, The Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, and Scribe Video Center. In 2018-19, she served as Research Coordinator and Curator of prototype physical and digital exhibitions for “Education Will Be Our Pride: The Colored School at the Peale (1878-89)”, and curator of a 3D scanned tour of the Peale building, based on the history of Male and Female Colored School No. 1. Ms. Berkley also coordinated the development of a microsite, “School1,” an online repository for the history of 19th century education of African Americans in Baltimore City and surrounding counties. As the Africana Archivist, she has co-curated two exhibitions for Sheridan Libraries, “Community Archives: Preserving Black Baltimore” and “Black Foodways: A Culinary Diaspora” Exhibitions - Sheridan Libraries (