Clarence LaVaughn Franklin, often called Bishop C. L. Franklin was an American Baptist minister, a civil rights activist, and father of the legendary soul and gospel singer Aretha Franklin.
Born Clarence LaVaughn Walker in Sunflower County, Mississippi, to sharecroppers Willie Walker and Rachel Walker née Pittman. After returned from service in World War I in 1919, Willie Walker abandoned the family shortly thereafter (Clarence was only four years old), and the next year Rachel married Henry Franklin, whose surname the family adopted.
At age 16, he became a preacher, initially working the Black itinerant preaching circuit, before settling at New Salem Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where he remained until May 1944. From there he moved to the pulpit of the Friendship Baptist Church in Buffalo, New York, where he served until June 1946 when he became pastor of the New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan.
Throughout the late 1940s and 1950s his fame grew, and he preached throughout the country while maintaining his pulpit at New Bethel. Known as the man with the “Million Dollar Voice”, Franklin was one of the first ministers to place his sermons on records (which continued into the 1970s), and also to broadcast sermons via radio on Sundays. Among his most famous sermons were “The Eagle Stirreth Her Nest” and “Dry Bones in the Valley.” In addition to his fame as a preacher, Franklin was known for his fine singing voice. He greatly encouraged his daughter Aretha Franklin in her musical endeavors, and during the 1950s took Aretha with him on speaking tours and musical engagements.
In addition to his ministry, in the 1950s and 1960s as he became involved in the civil rights movement, and worked to end discriminatory practices against black United Auto Workers members in Detroit.
C. L. Franklin was a close friend and supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr., who deeply admired Rev. Franklin, and was also known for his close relationships with Mahalia Jackson and Clara Ward, two of gospel music’s greatest voices. Mahalia and Clara greatly encouraged his daughter, Aretha, who credits their mentoring and frequent visits to the Franklin home as great influences.
Shortly after midnight on Sunday, June 10, 1979, Franklin was shot twice at point blank range during what was said to be an attempted robbery at his home on Detroit’s West Side. Rev Franklin was taken to Henry Ford Hospital. He remained in a coma for the next five years. The Franklin children moved him back to the house six months after the tragedy and installed a 24-hour nurse at the residence to monitor the minister. He remained at the home until the middle of 1984. He died on July 27, 1984, just one week after being placed in Detroit’s New Light Nursing Home. He was 69 years old.
Franklin was entombed at Detroit’s historic Woodlawn Cemetery on North Woodward Avenue, with his friend, Rev. Jasper Williams Jr., of the Salem Baptist Church of Atlanta, Georgia, giving the eulogy. Posted in Tribute | No Comments »
Timothy Wright started on piano at age 12, and sang and composed for his church choir as a teenager at the St. John’s Fire Baptized Holiness Church of God in Brooklyn. He played piano for Bishop F. D. Washington and Isaac Douglas in the 1960s and 1970s, including on recordings, and he formed his own gospel ensemble in the mid-1970s, the Timothy Wright Concert Choir. He eventually became pastor of the Pentecostal Grace Tabernacle Christian Center Church of God in Christ located in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York and issued albums regularly from 1990.
Rev. Wright’s 1994 album Come Thou Almighty King, with the New York Fellowship Mass Choir, made Billboard’s Top 20 chart for gospel albums and was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album, as was his 1999 release Been There Done That.
On July 4, 2008, Rev. Wright was critically injured in a car crash on Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania, a crash which killed his wife and grandson as well as the driver of the oncoming car. Nine months after the devastating car crash left him paralyzed he died April 24, 2009 as a result of these injuries, at the age of 61. bio credit:wikipedia.org
Ray Charles began working as a musician in many bands that played in various styles, including jazz and, in Tampa "with a hillbilly band called The Florida Playboys." Although most of his career is best known for the hits on the R&B charts, some critics felt he was playing church "music" with popuar lyrics on some of the songs. With Rays crossover success into pop and country music, the drive to expand and express never stop. His final album, Genius Loves Company, released two months after his death, consists of duets with various admirers and contemporaries: B.B. King, Van Morrison, Willie Nelson, James Taylor, Gladys Knight, Michael McDonald, Natalie Cole, Elton John, Bonnie Raitt, Diana Krall, Norah Jones, and Johnny Mathis. The album won eight Grammy Awards, including five for Ray Charles for Best Pop Vocal Album, Album of the Year, Record of the Year and Best Pop Collaboration with Vocals for “Here We Go Again” with Norah Jones, and Best Gospel Performance for “Heaven Help Us All” with Gladys Knight; he also received nods for his duets with Elton John and B.B. King.
Ray Charles & Voices Of Jubilation
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Gospel Musician. Considered one of the key architect of the modern gospel sound, he wrote his compositions (over 200 songs) for his church services, his renowned gospel drama extravaganzas, his radio ministry, his performing groups, and the top names in gospel music.
Among his famous compositions are, “Move On Up A Little Higher” (1946), made popular by gospel singer Mahalia Jackson; “Our God Is Able” (1949); “How I Got Over”, made popular by gospel singer Clara Ward; “Peace Be Still” (1949), later made popular by Rev. James Cleveland; “Let Us Go Back To The Old Landmark” (1949); “Have Faith in God” (1952); “Faith That Moves Mountains” (1954); “God’s Amazing Love”; “Packing Up” (1957); and “Pay Day” (1958). Brewster’s church in Memphis, East Trigg Baptist Church has gone down in Rock-and-Roll history books as Elvis Presley’s favorite house of worship.
Albertina Walker was born in Chicago, Illinois. By the age of four she had begun singing in the Children’s Choir of West Point Baptist Church. By the age of 14, Albertina Walker was a member of the Williams Singers and also toured with the Willie Webb and Robert Anderson Singers. By the age of 22 she formed her own group, the Caravans, which helped launch the careers of Evangelist Dorothy Norwood, Inez Andrews, Shirley Caesar, Delores Washington, Cassieta George, and Reverend James Cleveland.
In 1975 Albertina Walker recorded her first solo album, Put A Little Love In Your Heart. By 1999 she had recorded over sixty albums, solo and with other artists.
Albertina Walker, being committed to the preservation of gospel music, founded the Albertina Walker Foundation for the Creative and Performing Arts in1998. The foundation offers financial assistance in the form of scholarships to college students who plan on working with gospel music.
Albertina Walker is the recipient of many awards and honors, including: a 1995 Grammy Award for Best Traditional Album (Songs Of The Church); two Stellar awards; and several Gospel Music Workshop of America Excellence awards.
In 1994, Albertina Walker was honored at the Chicago Gospel Festival with a street being renamed in her honor, and the placement of a bench bearing her name in Chicago’s Grant Park. In 1997, she was conferred an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree by the Chicago Theological Seminary, an institution of the University of Chicago.
THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NINETY-FIRST GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, issued House Bill. In the form of a resolution, congratulating Albertina Walker on the occasion of her 70th birthday and honoring her career accomplishments as a gospel musician. The bill was filed with the clerk on August 23, 1999 and officially adopted November 18, 1999.