When I Rise is the inspiring story of Barbara Smith Conrad, a gifted black mezzo-soprano who, as a music student at the University of Texas, found herself in a civil rights storm that changed her life forever.
Barbara had transferred from Prairie View A&M University in the fall of 1956 as part of the first racially integrated undergraduate class at the University of Texas. Shortly after beginning her new life in Austin, Barbara’s innate musical talent attracted the attention of her professors in the School of Music, and she was cast as the romantic lead in the campus rendition of Dido and Aeneas — opposite a white male student.

When I Rise is the inspiring story of Barbara Smith Conrad, a gifted black mezzo-soprano who, as a music student at the University of Texas, found herself in a civil rights storm that changed her life forever.

Barbara had transferred from Prairie View A&M University in the fall of 1956 as part of the first racially integrated undergraduate class at the University of Texas. Shortly after beginning her new life in Austin, Barbara’s innate musical talent attracted the attention of her professors in the School of Music, and she was cast as the romantic lead in the campus rendition of Dido and Aeneas — opposite a white male student.

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