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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 ...

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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 ...

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SaFiya D. Hoskins

singer, actress, and ordained minister, was born Delloreese Patricia Early in Detroit, Michigan, the only child born to the union of Nellie Mitchelle and Richard Thaddeus Early. Her mother, who was of Cherokee descent, worked as cook, and her father was a steelworker. Reese grew up in the church and began singing gospel at age six. As a young teenager, she served as a choir director and would often perform on radio. Subsequently, Reese was discovered by the popular gospel singer Mahalia Jackson. At age thirteen, she began touring with Jackson; she graduated from Cass Technical High School two years later and continued touring with Jackson. While a psychology student at Wayne State University in Detroit, at age eighteen, Reese formed her own gospel group called the Meditation Singers, which would become the first group to popularize gospel in Las Vegas.

Reese discontinued her education at ...