This Day in Black History: Oct. 13, 1938

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 16:  Singer Shirley Caesar attends the BET Celebration of Gospel 2013 at Orpheum Theatre on March 16, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Maury Phillips/Getty Images for BET)

This Day in Black History: Oct. 13, 1938

Shirley Caesar, one of the best known gospel singers, was born on Oct. 13, 1938.

Published October 13, 2014

Shirley Caesar, an internationally acclaimed gospel singer with a career that has spanned more than six decades, was born in Durham, North Carolina, on Oct. 13, 1938.

She came to be widely known as the “First Lady of Gospel” in a career that started in 1951. She has sold more than 2 million albums since 1991 and has won 11 Grammy Awards, 13 Stellar Awards, 18 Doves and an Essence Award.

Caesar earned her Bachelor of Science degree in business administration from Shaw University in North Carolina in 1984. She has also studied at Duke University’s divinity school and received honorary doctorate degrees from Shaw University and Southeastern University. Caesar was inducted into the Gospel Music Association Hall of Fame in 2000.

She pastors Mount Calvary Holy Church of Faith in Raleigh, North Carolina, along with her husband, Bishop Harold Williams. Caesar is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

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(Photo: Maury Phillips/Getty Images for BET)

Written by Jonathan P. Hicks


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