12 Facts About Thomas A. Dorsey

Thomas A. Dorsey

Thomas Dorsey
"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.

Gospel Soul Choir by Ted Ellis

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.

Thomas Dorsey and Mahalia Jackson6. 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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  • BJ Bratton

    I am looking for the gospel song, “When I’ve Done My Best” – by Thomas A. Dorsey. Do you know where I can find a recording of this song, and and lyrics? I saw “Say Amen, Somebody!” and Dorsey sang a few lines from that song and I want to hear and experience the entire song. Thanks so much for your assistance. Peace.

    • http://www.blackartdepot.com Haasim

      Try this link: http://www.mp3sale.ru/track.php?ms_trackid=816659

      Be advised that I’ve never purchased anything from them so I’m not endorsing them but I see that they do have the mp3 for this song for sale.

  • Becky

    Does Thomas Dorcey have any living children? Did he have any illegitimate children?

    • http://www.blackartdepot.com Haasim

      I wish I could give you definitive answers on your questions but unfortunately I cannot. If I ever read, watch or hear anything that allows me to answer your questions, I will definitely let you know.

    • TMA

      Dr. Dorsey did remarry and did have more children. I know of at least one son, not sure about any daughters.

    • jazmine

      My grandfather, Vernon A. Green, is his son. (Mother is Mattie Mae Green, deceased) My grandfather was born in 1934 in Augusta, GA. He will be 80 years old in January!

  • Renola S.Covington Lightfoot

    My father, Rev. F.L. Covington Jr., who preached a two week revival the summer before the Lord called him home, at age 95 passed on his love of Thomas Andrew Dorsey’s music to me, his daughter. A young musician (maybe in his 40’s) showed up at our church in Fort Worth, Texas January 9, 2011. His name is Bruce Dorsey-He can sure enough play the piano very well and sing. Did Mr. Thomas Dorsey have brothers who might have had sons?

  • Phyllis DiNicola

    I can’t find anything that say Thomas Dorsey married again. Do you know? I see you were already asked whether he had any children. It pains me to think that he lived the rest of his life without a loving wife.

    • http://www.blackartdepot.com Haasim

      Unfortunately, I haven’t read or seen any research that speaks as to whether he married again.

  • Tracie

    I have two sheets of thomas a dorsey’s sheet music original i need n expert, totalk to about this.

  • Ray Saller

    I graduated from Hirsch High School in Chicago. I believe there was a girl in a lower grade that was the daughter of Mr. Dorsey. Of course “Precious Lord” has been a favorite of mine for close to 60 years. Good is good. I am white and Mr. Dorsey’s ability to write songs like that transcends race.