June 18


June 18, 1988 Sallie Martin, the “Mother of Gospel Music” and entrepreneur, died. Martin was born November 20, 1895 in Pittfield, Georgia. In 1927, she moved to Chicago, Illinois where she met Thomas A. Dorsey and convinced him to hire her as a part of a trio formed to introduce his songs to churches. In 1933, Martin helped to form the National Convention of Gospel Choirs and Choruses, Inc. and served as vice president until her death. In 1940, she co-founded Martin and Morris Music, Inc. which became the largest African American owned gospel publishing company in the country. They were responsible for publishing a number of gospel standards, including “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” (1940). Martin retired from music in 1970 and sold her portion of the publishing company in 1973. Martin’s involvement in the Civil Rights Movement led to an invitation to attend the 1960 celebration marking the independence of Nigeria. This inspired her to donate to the Nigerian health program, resulting in a state office building named in her honor. Martin was posthumously inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 1991.


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