"The Father of Black Gospel Music"
1. Thomas Dorsey was born in Villa Rica, Georgia on July 1, 1899 and died at the age of 93 in Chicago, Illinois on January 23, 1993 and is interred in the Oak Woods Cemetery in the Southside of Chicago, IL.
2. Thomas Dorsey originally performed under the name of Georgia Tom and was a leading Blues pianist.
3. Thomas A. Dorsey currently is credited with publishing over 400 songs and composed hundereds more.
4. Mr. Dorsey’s most famous composition, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” was composed during the grief he suffered after his first wife, Nettie, and his first son, Thomas Andrew Jr., died in childbirth in 1932. After this even, Dorsey no longer performed the blues and committed himself entirely to gospel music.
5. Thomas Dorsey established the first black gospel publishing company entitled Dorsey’s House of Music, founded his own gospel choir and was the founder and served as the first president of the National convention of Gospel Choir and Choruses.
6. Dorsey is considered the Father of Black Gospel Music primarily due to the way he combined christian praise with rhythms of jazz and blues. He is even credited with devising the term “Gospel Music”
7. Thomas A. Dorsey was the first African Ameriacn elected to the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame and the Gospel Music Association’s Living Hall of Fame.
8. Thomas A. Dorsey is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity.
9. His song, “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” was sung at a rally the night before Martin Luther King, Jr. was assasinated and at the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Lyndon B. Johnson per their request.
10. Thomas A. Dorsey taught himself how to play the piano primarily by listening to the talented musicians that performed while he worked concessions at the age of 11 at the 81 Theater, a prestigious venue in Atlanta’s Black Entertainment District, after dropping out of school to work and help support his family.
11. Dorsey is also responsible for discovering and nurturing the career of the world’s first gospel superstar, Mahalia Jackson.
12. Thomas Dorsey served as Music Director of Pilgrim Baptist Church from 1932 to the late 1970’s. (Please join the effort to help: Rebuild Pilgrim Baptist Church. )
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