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 • St. Clair County
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Br Joseph "Joe" May, Sr
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Birth: Nov. 9, 1912
Macon
Noxubee County
Mississippi, USA
Death: Jul. 14, 1972
Thomasville
Thomas County
Georgia, USA

Gospel singer. Born Joseph May. He was the male counterpart of Mahalia Jackson who was a full voiced tenor of amazing range and power who's voice shook church rafters. Brother Joe was dubbed "The Thunderbolt of the Middle West" by his mentor, legendary gospel singer Willie Mae Ford Smith. Brother Joe May was perhaps the greatest male soloist in the history of gospel music. He was born in a small farm town in Mississippi and raised in the Church of God denomination. It was in 1941, May, along with his wife Viola and children, moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he became employed as a laborer. It was here May became known and his reputation spread beyond the heartland of America during the 1940s through his participation in Thomas A. Dorsey's National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses. Later, May began his recording career with two of his biggest sellers: "Search Me Lord" and "Do You Know Him?" His huge success led to offers to appear at major gospel concerts throughout the country. By 1950, May quit his job and continued singing full time. May, unlike Mahalia Jackson, never crossed over to white audiences. He did, however, make a respectable living. May also recorded with one of his seven children Annette, who traveled and performed with her father. Annette herself recorded sporadically in subsequent years and scored a major gospel hit in the 1970s as lead vocalist on "Give Me A Clean Heart" by Rev. James Cleveland and the Southern California Community Choir. An extended stretch of the 1960s found Brother Joe May starring in the musical Black Nativity along with gospel great Marion Williams and after the production played Broadway, it toured the U.S. and Europe. In July of 1972 while traveling to a concert in the small country town of Thomasville, Georgia, May died of a massive stroke. The songs he left behind provide ongoing proof of his majesty and his abiding faith in God. (bio by: Curtis Jackson) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Viola May (1913 - 2009)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Sunset Gardens of Memory
Millstadt
St. Clair County
Illinois, USA
 
Created by: Curtis Jackson
Record added: Nov 02, 2002
Find A Grave Memorial# 6902200
Br Joseph Joe May, Sr
Added by: Curtis Jackson
 
Br Joseph Joe May, Sr
Added by: Curtis Jackson
 
Br Joseph Joe May, Sr
Added by: Randy & Melissa Watkins
 
 
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Happy Birthday in Heaven Brother Joe!
- Lynnie
 Added: Nov. 9, 2013
Thank you, Brother May, for your outstanding singing. I just heard some of your music for the first time in my life. I can't wait to hear more. I'm new to Gospel music & am really being blessed by it. Your anointing was powerful & continues forever! Amen.
- Lynnie
 Added: Oct. 12, 2013

- Jackie
 Added: Mar. 4, 2013
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