July 6, 1994 |
The pews of the B.M. Oakley Memorial Temple seemed a little emptier yesterday. The baby grand piano, a bit more silent. And the hearts of the church's congregation were much heavier. To them, "Mother Williams," the smiling, friendly woman active in the North Philadelphia church's auxiliary, who was as comfortable singing stirring gospel hymns at Sunday service as making potato salad afterward, was gone. To the rest of the city - and the world - Marion Williams, recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant, a Kennedy Center honoree and one of the greatest gospel singers ever, was dead.
February 20, 1990 |
Vinnie R. Green, a gospel singer who gave away her songs because she believed her golden alto voice was a gift from God, died Friday. She was 54 and lived in West Philadelphia. For more than 20 years, she traveled throughout the United States and Canada singing with various groups such as The Humble Followers and the Star of Faith and teaming with the superb organist-pianist-singer, Tomassina Johnson James. Usually there was just enough money to cover expenses. Any organization or fund-raiser who wanted a gospel soloist or lead singer reached out for Vinnie Green.
February 19, 1997 |
The memory still irks Carl Galmon, a straight-talking, no-nonsense veteran of the civil rights movement. A group of black boys and girls - the McDonogh 35 High School marching band - strutted along St. Charles Avenue, styling and profiling in the Mardi Gras parade. As they high-stepped and moved to the music, their colors and uniforms paid proud tribute to their school - named for one of the largest slave owners in Louisiana history. "As they were passing, these people standing near me, I guess they were tourists, said, 'Is this school named after John McDonogh?
March 6, 1986 |
The Late Great Ladies of Blues and Jazz, playing through Sunday at the Annenberg School Theater, is not theater. It's glorified lounge entertainment. Since Sandra Reaves-Phillips' one-woman tribute to seven immortals - Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ethel Waters, Josephine Baker, Billie Holiday, Dinah Washington and Mahalia Jackson - did, in fact, originate as cabaret, the question becomes, "How well does it survive the leap?" The answer: not very. Although Reaves-Phillips is an admirably gutsy performer, she must have been easier to take in a nightclub, where the distance between her and the audience didn't require her to escalate what should be subtle character transformations into semaphore blasts.
September 16, 1993 |
It troubles me to report that what may turn out to be the most entertaining show of the local theater season will be gone with the wind as of Sunday. I refer to "An Evening of Comedy with Jackie 'Moms' Mabley," a cabaret presentation inaugurating the season of the Freedom Rep, starring Clarice Taylor in the familiar role of the late bawdy comedian and also featuring Carol Dennis, a bona fide jazz diva; piano virtuoso Grenoldo Frazier; and a marvelous young vocal quintet known collectively as Imaje.
March 9, 2012
Margaret Cromartie Hennegan, 89, of Northern Liberties, a retired seamstress and the grandmother of a national television correspondent, died of complications of a stroke Tuesday, March 6, at Hahnemann University Hospital. Mrs. Hennegan was born in Wilmington, N.C., and grew up with three brothers in South Philadelphia. She attended William Penn High School. While raising a daughter as a single mother, she worked in textile factories in Philadelphia and was a member of the International Ladies' Garment Workers Union.
October 15, 2009 |
Business and city leaders gathered in Progress Plaza yesterday to hail an investment by one of the city's prominent black churches in a black-owned bank that serves North Philadelphia and other parts of the city. Under a green-and-white tent in the plaza parking lot, the Rev. Kevin Johnson, senior pastor of Bright Hope Baptist Church, announced that the church has decided to deposit all of its money at United Bank of Philadelphia, which has a branch in the plaza, at Broad and Jefferson streets.
March 18, 1988 |
Deep in a bleak urban canyon of high-rises, there's a cry never before heard. It echoes through the graceless brick towers of Robert Taylor Homes and draws women and their babies to curtained windows facing a courtyard swept with snow, dead grass and bitter winds. "Meet the pres-i-dent," comes a chorus of cries rattling with excitement. "Meet the president. Come on down. " And there in the trampled grass stands Jesse Jackson, more king than candidate, more prophet of hope than politician to the young black women who eagerly grip his wide hand and the black men who wade through the crowd in search of autographs.
July 17, 1998 |
Four gospel singers who won the hearts and souls of listeners were honored this week on a block of four commemoratives from the U.S. Postal Service. First-day ceremonies were held in New Orleans' Superdome in conjunction with the conference of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship. Honored on the 32-cent stamps were Roberta Martin, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Clara Ward and Mahalia Jackson, perhaps the best-known of the four. They continue the Legends of American Music Series.
November 11, 2002 |
It was Saturday night, eight minutes before midnight, but nothing's ever been written that says church has to start on Sunday. Homegirl Ruth Naomi Floyd knows this, and she began church early, toward the end of her second Painted Bride Art Center set, with "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child. " It's a spiritual, and it best represents what Floyd tries to do when she sings. As Matthew Parrish, the bassist, moved in style from acoustic bass to bass fiddle, bowing his instrument and making it moan, Floyd began quietly but soon built force.