This book examines the development of gospel music in Chicago during its first five decades, from pioneers such as Thomas A. Dorsey and Sallie Martin to the start of the contemporary gospel era of the 1970s. It chronicles some of the historic tipping points that helped establish what is known today as gospel music, all of them occurring in Chicago, including Arizona Dranes's 1926 recording of “My Soul Is a Witness for My Lord”; the debut of the First Church of Deliverance radio broadcast in 1935; the founding of Martin and Morris Music Studio in 1939; and the 1947 release of Mahalia Jackson's best-selling record “Move on Up a Little Higher.” The book also shows how the gospel music industry grew out of the necessity for entrepreneurship among African American migrants. Finally, it considers how gospel music as developed in Chicago transcended denominational boundaries, along with the contributions of various church denominations to the development of gospel.
Keywords: gospel music, Chicago, Thomas A. Dorsey, Sallie Martin, First Church of Deliverance, Martin and Morris Music Studio, Mahalia Jackson, entrepreneurship, African American migrants, church denominations
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