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Emmett P. Tracy

singer, songwriter, and blues slide guitarist. Born Eddie James House Jr. in Riverton, Mississippi, House chopped cotton as a teenager, followed a calling as a preacher in the Baptist Church, and served time at Parchman Farm (Mississippi State Penitentiary) before becoming one of the greatest pioneers of Delta blues slide-guitar playing. His style profoundly influenced Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, and Howlin’ Wolf.

When House's parents separated in 1908 or 1909, House began drifting from one cotton plantation to another across the Mississippi Delta and Louisiana. By 1920 his family had settled near Lyon, Mississippi, and House had fully committed himself to the Baptist congregation. From the age of fifteen he had been delivering sermons around the Delta, and in 1922 he became pastor of a country church near Lyon. After an affair with a female congregant in 1923 and a subsequent escape ...


Kevin Sliman

blues musician and preacher, was born in Pelahatchie, Mississippi. His father, a fireman in Jackson, Mississippi, died in 1911 and Lacy was raised by his grandfather, an African Methodist preacher. He attended school for five years and quickly turned his attention to music. Coming from a musically skilled family, Lacy organized his siblings into gospel quartets while his mother or other siblings played harmonica. He learned to play guitar and mandolin in his early teens from a man named George “Crow Jane” Hendrix, a professional musician. His uncle, Herbert Meiels a German who was highly educated and spoke five languages taught Lacy German history and politics At age twenty Lacy moved to Jackson Mississippi to pursue music but stayed only a short time before he began doing railroad work that took him all over Mississippi and then to Iowa Lacy moved to Chicago and lived with Meiels ...


Bruce Nemerov

singer, guitarist, songwriter, and evangelist, was born Ola Mae Long in Atlanta, Georgia, to Mary Long, a laundress. Mother and daughter lived in racially segregated Atlanta's Summerhill district, just a few blocks from Decatur Street, Atlanta's black commercial and entertainment center.

In 1922, Ola Mae was put out to work as a cook and housekeeper in the home of Devereaux F. McClatchey, a Southern Bell Telephone executive. This was her first experience living outside the segregated Summerhill neighborhood. The following year she underwent a conversion experience at a revival held at the Fire Baptized Holiness Church, a Pentecostal denomination organized in Anderson, South Carolina, in 1898 and originally an integrated association.

The black members of the Fire Baptized Holiness Church, in response to increasingly strict enforcement of “Jim Crow” laws, in 1908 withdrew and formed the Colored Fire Baptized Holiness Church with ...