Thomas A. Dorsey

Thomas A. Dorsey (HM6GV)

Location: Villa Rica, GA 30180 Carroll County
Country: United States of America

N 33° 43.947', W 84° 55.569'

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Father of Gospel

Thomas Andrew Dorsey, composer of over 400 blues and gospel songs, lived here following his birth in Villa Rica on July 1, 1899. At Mt. Prospect Baptist Church he was exposed to shape-note singing and at home learned to play a used pump organ, experiences he said "sprang" his career. The young blues pianist moved to Chicago in 1919 in the Great Migration.

Dorsey wrote the world's most popular gospel-blues song after his wife and newborn son died unexpectedly on August 26 and 27, 1932. That song, Take My Hand, Precious Lord has been translated into 32 languages. Aretha Franklin recorded Take My Hand, Precious Lord in 1956, the same year Tennessee Governor Frank Clement recited it. It became the anthem of Fannie Lou Hamer's Mississippi Summer. Dorsey's friend, Mahalia Jackson, sang it at Martin Luther King, Jr's funeral. Elvis Presley's recording of Dorsey's second-most-popular gospel song, Peace in the Valley, sold millions of copies.

For a while, any new gospel-blues song, regardless of who wrote it, was called a "Dorsey" until Dorsey himself coined the name "gospel". Dorsey died in Chicago on January 23, 1993.
HM NumberHM6GV
Series This marker is part of the Georgia: Georgia Historical Society/Commission series
Marker Number022-8
Year Placed1994
Placed ByGeorgia Department of Natural Resources
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Monday, October 20th, 2014 at 4:43am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)16S E 692130 N 3734422
Decimal Degrees33.73245000, -84.92615000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 33° 43.947', W 84° 55.569'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds33° 43' 56.82" N, 84° 55' 34.14" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)770, 678
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 404 US-78, Villa Rica GA 30180, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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