H I C A G O
R I B U T E
Dorsey moved from Atlanta
to Chicago in 1916, and performed as
blues pianist Georgia Tom during the 1920s. He published a
number of popular songs, often with risqué lyrics, and performed
with Ma Raineys blues band.
When Dorsey decided
to devote himself to religious music, he took
the emotional intensity of the cabaret to the church, composing
such works as Precious Lord, Take My Hand, and Peace in
Valley. Dorseys songs were enormously populareven the
white gospel publishers were anthologizing his music by 1939.
Though gospel was initially
controversial within old-line black churches, Dorsey
gave it legitimacy after becoming music director at Pilgrim Baptist Church,
of the largest black churches in the U.S., from 1932 to 1983. He and his
spent many of those years at 7921 South Indiana Avenue.
Dorsey founded the National
Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses in
1933, and served as its president for four decades, influencing generations