|Birth: ||Oct. 5, 1919|
|Death: ||May 3, 2007|
Gospel singer. His deep, swooping octave-leaping voice and charismatic presence made him one of the most important figures in gospel music. He favored the older, slower gospel styles rooted in spirituals and quartet singing, but left audiences galvanized. The Southern native was a favorite of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and was nicknamed "Mr. Baptist." Mahalia Jackson once said he had the greatest voice she had ever heard. He was raised by his mother and grew up poor in Memphis where he spent much of his career. His singing at the age of 12 caught the attention of pioneering gospel songwriter Lucie Campbell who would become his mentor and who arranged for him to join her Good Will Singers quartet. After touring with them, he studied classical music in New York and London, where he lived for six years. He recorded his first record with Apollo Records in 1950, and later Decca Records. He would have an extensive concert career and never left gospel music behind. His concert career carried him across Europe and the Americas, where he sang concerts that included arias, lieder and spirituals. When Campbell died in 1963, he took her position as National Baptist Convention director of music and moved to Nashville. In later years he recorded for Nashboro and Spirit Feel/Shanachie. In 1975, he had the honor of being knighted in Liberia. He later wrote a memoir, "In the Hands of God," that was published in 1993. He continued to perform until 2005, appearing that year at the National Baptist Convention's annual convocation. He died from complications of diabetes in 2007.
Plot: Past cem. marker and on the left of the main entrance.
Created by: Curtis Jackson
Record added: Jan 15, 2008
Find A Grave Memorial# 23973806