William Levi Dawson graduated at Tuskegee Institute and became a Professor and the director of the choir at the same institution, in 1931. He was called the “Dean of African-American Choral composers", for he arranged many Negro spirituals for choirs.
The Tuskegee Choir was invited by presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover. It ws the first African-American organization to appear at Constitution Hall, Washington DC (1946).
William L. Dawson directed also the Fisk University Choir.