On October 6, 1871 ten young African-American students, all former slaves or children of slaves, set out from Nashville on a singing tour of the North to raise money to save their failing school, Fisk University. The matriarch of the singers was Ella Sheppard, a seventeen-year-old who was already a gifted singer and pianist and the group's accompanist. Ella was separated from her mother at age three when her father was able to buy her freedom. Now Ella's father is dead and, still dreaming of one day finding her mother, Ella and the other singers begin their improbable journey into glory as the original Fisk Jubilee Singers, the group that introduced the Negro Spirituals to the world. Jubilee is Ella's story.