Actions
Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Find all Dorseys in:
 • Oak Woods Cemetery
 • Chicago
 • Cook County
 • Illinois
 • Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Discussion Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
Thomas "Georgia Tom" Dorsey
Birth: Jul. 1, 1899
Villa Rica
Carroll County
Georgia, USA
Death: Jan. 23, 1993
Chicago
Illinois, USA

African-American composer and arranger, the acknowledged "father of gospel music." Thomas Andrew Dorsey remains arguably the most influential figure ever to impact the genre. A versatile composer whose material shifted easily from energetic hard gospel to hymns. Dorsey penned many of the best known and familiar songs in gospel, among them "Precious Lord," "Peace In The Valley," "I Don't Know Why," "Search Me Lord," "Old Ship Of Zion," and "The Lord Will Make A Way." He was born in Villa Rica, Georgia in 1899 and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, the son of a Baptist minister. A child prodigy, he absorbed all musical sounds of his surroundings, circus songs, Blues, jazz, vaudeville tunes, hillbilly ballads, and the popular revival hymns. He also taught himself a wide range of instruments, and was playing blues and ragtime while still in his teens; under the stage name Georgia Tom. Dorsey settled in Chicago in 1918, he there began playing in area jazz bands including forming his own group, the Wildcats Jazz Band, which traveled in support of singer Ma Rainey. Lack of work soon made Dorsey result in peddling song sheets to make a living. In 1932, he organized one of the first gospel choirs at Chicago's Pilgrim Baptist Church. That same year he founded the first publishing house devoted exclusively to selling music by black gospel composers. It was in 1933, Dorsey and gospel singer Sallie Martin along with others organized the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses, where they introduced new songs to choir directors from across the nation. Dorsey was a pioneering force in the renowned Chicago gospel community, where he help launch the careers of legends including Mahalia Jackson and "Mother" Willie Mae Smith. Thomas A. Dorsey died in Chicago in Jan. of 1993, he indeed was a living testimony of the power of God. (bio by: Curtis Jackson) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Nettie Harper Dorsey (1906 - 1932)*
 
 Children:
  Thomas A. Dorsey (1932 - 1932)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Oak Woods Cemetery
Chicago
Cook County
Illinois, USA
Plot: Mausoleum, Sanctuary of Life, Chapel Floor, AW 63
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Record added: Oct 05, 1999
Find A Grave Memorial# 6546
Thomas Georgia Tom Dorsey
Added by: Curtis Jackson
 
Thomas Georgia Tom Dorsey
Added by: DeborahDennis
 
Thomas Georgia Tom Dorsey
Added by: Curtis Jackson
 
There is 1 more photo not showing...
Click here to view all images...
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.


- Mary Alequin
 Added: Jul. 3, 2014

- Curtis Jackson
 Added: Jul. 1, 2014

- R I P
 Added: Jul. 1, 2014
There are 318 more notes not showing...
Click here to view all notes...
Do you have a photo to add? Click here
How famous was this person?
Current ranking for this person: (4.2 after 89 votes)
 

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service