National Negro Opera Company

National Negro Opera Company

National Negro Opera Company
Pennsylvania Historical Marker signification
City of Pittsburgh Historic Structure
The National Negro Opera Company House
National Negro Opera Company is located in Pittsburgh
National Negro Opera Company
Location of the National Negro Opera Company in Pittsburgh
Location: 7101 Apple Street, Homewood West neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Built/Founded: House: ~1894
Company: 1941
Architectural style(s): Queen Anne style
Governing body/Owner: Jonnet Solomon-Nowlin & Miriam White
PA marker dedicated: September 25, 1994
City designated: May 20, 2008[1]

The National Negro Opera Company (1941–1962) was the first African-American opera company in the United States.

Organized in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, under the direction of Mary Cardwell Dawson, the company was resident in a Queen Anne-style house at 7101 Apple Street in the city's Homewood neighborhood.

Dawson launched NNOC in 1941 with a performance at Pittsburgh's Syria Mosque. The star was La Julia Rhea, and other members included Minto Cato, Carol Brice, Robert McFerrin, and Lillian Evanti. During its 21-year run NNOC also mounted productions in Washington D.C., New York City, and Chicago.

The company disbanded in 1962 upon Dawson's death.


  1. ^ "Meeting Minutes: Proceedings of the Council of the City of Pittsburgh Tuesday, May 20, 2008". City of Pittsburgh. 2008-05-20. p. 7. Retrieved 2010-07-14. 
  • Altman, Susan (1997). Encyclopedia African-American Heritage. New York: Facts on File.  
  • Diana Nelson Jones (2007). : Preservationists aim to save Pittsburgh landmarkPittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved May 3, 2007.