By Robert M. Marovich
Marovich follows gospel song from early hymns and camp conferences throughout the nice Migration that introduced it to Chicago. In time, the track grew into the sanctified soundtrack of the city's mainline black Protestant church buildings. as well as drawing on print media and ephemera, Marovich mines hours of interviews with approximately fifty artists, ministers, and historians--as good as discussions with kinfolk and neighbors of earlier gospel pioneers--to get well many forgotten singers, musicians, songwriters, and leaders. He additionally examines how an absence of monetary chance bred an entrepreneurial spirit that fueled gospel music's upward push to recognition and opened a gate to social mobility for a few its practitioners. As Marovich exhibits, gospel song expressed a longing for freedom from earthly pains, racial prejudice, and life's hardships. in spite of everything, it proved to be a valid too strong and too joyous for even church partitions to hold.
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Additional resources for A City Called Heaven: Chicago and the Birth of Gospel Music
Have Prayer Meetings at Home” Until 1926, the only way to hear the music and preaching of Holy Ghost–inspired services in Chicago was to be a member of, or steal away to visit, a service at Lake Street, Fortieth, Thirteenth Street COGIC, or any other of the city’s 34 Part One: Roots growing number of Pentecostal and Holiness churches. This would change in June 1926, when Arizona Juanita Dranes, a blind COGIC musician from Fort Worth, Texas, came to Chicago to make the first commercial recordings of the exuberant music of the Pentecostal Church.
So convinced was Roberts in glossolalia as a sign of spirit baptism that he was among the ministers who stood with Mason after the latter parted ways with Charles Price Jones. 14 Around 1914, Mason developed a strategy for denominational growth that included planting COGIC churches in northern cities with significant numbers of new southern migrants. Chicago was on the short list. Immediately following Mason’s directive, COGIC leaders Elder and Sister Bostic conducted a convocation in Chicago, but they decided not to remain in the city.
39 Paramount established a special 12000 numbering series for recordings aimed at the African American consumer. In June 1923, the company experienced its first commercial success in selling black sacred music. 40 The popularity of the disc confirmed Supper’s intuition about the potential of black records, but it took J. Mayo “Ink” Williams, who understood the African American market, to make the 12000 series successful. Born in Monmouth, Illinois in 1894, Ink Williams attended Brown University, where he was an All-American football star.