Gospel Music’s First Lady, Shirley Caesar of Durham

On October 13, 1938, Shirley Caesar, an award-winning gospel singer and preacher was born in Durham. Her beginnings were humble. She and her 11 siblings lost their father when they were young. She immersed herself in church and family life, and in singing, which she began at age 10.

When Caesar was 19-years-old she met Albertina Walker, a famous gospel singer, who was impressed with Caesar’s raw talent and invited her to join her group, the Caravans. Performing across the United States, she saw the racial adversity that was prevalent in America during the 1950’s and 1960’s.  After eight years with the group she opted for a solo career, giving her the opportunity to preach and to affect change.

Caesar’s many accolades include 11 Grammy Awards, 15 Dove Awards and 13 Stellar Awards.  She has released more than 20 albums and a dozen singles, and she is commonly known as the “First Lady of Gospel Music.”

Caesar continues to be active in the Triangle community, preachingat Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church in Raleigh and has operated her Outreach Ministries in Durham for more than 40 years, inspiring many through her talent and selflessness.

Other related resources:

For more about North Carolina’s history, arts and culture, visit Cultural Resources online. To receive these updates automatically each day, subscribe by email using the box on the right and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Pinterest.

This Day Categorization: