Gospel Impact

Who is Thomas A. Dorsey?

Thomas A.Dorsey is considered the father of gospel. It was him who decided to combine blues and jazz into the sound of what we know as “gospel”. Initially, this term and type of music was rejected in many churches. They labeled Dorsey’s music as “Devil Music”. 

– Founder and First President of the National Convention of Gospel Choir and Choruses

– Established First Black Gospel Publishing Company: Dorsey’s House of Music 

Who is Mahalia Jackson?

Thomas Dorsey is responsible for discovering Mahalia Jackson. Jackson is considered the “Queen of Gospel”. After joining Greater Salem Baptist Church she began singing for the Gospel Johnson Singers. Dorsey who composed music began working with Jackson around the United States. Mahalia Jackson has appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show and has performed with Duke Ellington and his band. Eventually Jackson and Ellington colloborated on an album titled Black, Brown, Beige.

Dorseys’ Most Known Song:

Dorsey’s most known song is “Take My Hand, Precious Lord”. After his wife and son died during childbirth he turned to the piano. For many years, his mother had tried to get him to “serve the lord” but he more interested in the blues.


Mahalia Jackson has a few songs that have remained most known. A lot of songs have been resung by other artist such as Aretha Franklin.

1. Move On Up A Little Higher

2. How I Got Over

3. Take My Hand, Precious Lord

4. Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho 

5. His Eye Is on the Sparrow

Thomas Dorsey created a new sound. Although at first listen it was rejected by churches, Gospel music has allowed children and adults to strengthen their spirituality through the word of God using music. Dorsey paved the way for other known artist such as Edwin Hawkins in the late 1960s, and Kirk Franklin in the 1990s. Mahalia Jackson has also left her impact. She performed at a President Kennedy’s Inauguration. Beyond that she performed at dear friend, Martin Luther Kings’ funeral. No matter where she sung, she sang with the same passion. 

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