Evelyn Turrentine Agee

Do you remember Inez Andrews, Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers, The Caravans, Rev. Julius Cheeks and the Sensational Nightingales, The Swan Silverstone’s, The Dixie Hummingbirds, Wings Over Jordan and The Five Blind Boys of Alabama or Mississippi?

Can you recall listening to the songs of Martha Bass, The Davis Sisters, Cassietta George, Delores Washington, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Marion Williams, Brother Joe May, Thomas Whitfield and Edna Gallmon Cooke?

Do you like hearing the glorious sounds of Dr. Bobby Jones and the Nashville Super Choir, The Mississippi Mass Choir, The Mighty Clouds of Joy, Andre Crouch, The Winans with and without BeBe and CeCe, and Edwin and Tremaine Hawkins?

Did you ever see in person Mahalia Jackson, Rev. Shirley Caesar, Jessy Dixon, Albertina Walker and Dr. Thomas A. Dorsey?

Do you reminisce while listening to Joshua, Geneva or Marybeth Gentry, Rev. James Cleveland, Mother Willie Mae Ford Smith, The Soul Stirrers, Lou Rawls with The Pilgrim Travelers, Dorothy Norwood, The O’Neal Twins, Dr. Ken Billups, Clara Ward or Rev. Cleophus Robinson?

The National Black Radio Hall of Fame will honor these groups and individuals, and the radio personalities that filled the airways with spirituals and inspirational music. Forerunners and radio pioneers Wynetta Lindsay, Leonard Morris, Minister Hosea Gales, Columbus Gregory, Virginia White, Zella Jackson Price, Ruby Summerville Dixon, Devan Strong, George “The G” Logan, Steve Love and too many others to name will be honored and remembered.

On Saturday, August 13 at 6 p.m. at Harris-Stowe State University, Evelyn and the Warriors starring Evelyn Turrentine Agee, The Silver Wings, Rev. William Rainer, The Caesars, and Dello Thedford leading the Shalom Symphonic Choir will perform to pay tribute to gospel music and the developers of inspirational radio.

Gospel music has the power to move people, and the National Black Radio Hall of Fame understands that religious music’s ecstatic possibilities have been recognized in all cultures. People of African heritage have made enduring contributions to society throughout history, and gospel music has been enriched by Africans and African Americans as long as it has existed. 

I am afraid that most of our traditional and most cherished music and the artists will be lost or forgotten, as well as the deejays that were responsible for of our beloved memories. I am afraid they will fade from remembrance and from the history books.

Let us not forget them or The Original Five Blind Boys of Alabama doing “The Sermon,” or Dorothy Love Coates and the Original Gospel Harmonettes singing “When I Reach My Heavenly Home”? Let’s pay respect to The Rance Allen Group and The Staple Singers and to artists and announcers that developed and produced what we call “gospel music.”

Support the National Black Radio Hall of Fame and come to Harris-Stowe State University on August 13 at 6 p.m.

Please watch the Bernie Hayes TV program Saturday night at 10 p.m. and Sunday evenings at 5:30 p.m. on KNLC-TV Ch. 24. I can be reached by fax at 314-837-3369, e-mail at berhay@swbell.net or on Twitter @berhay.

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