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*Shirley Caesar was born on this date in 1938. She is a Black gospel singer and pastor.
Caesar was born and raised in Durham, North Carolina; her father died when she was eight. She took on the responsibility of caring for a semi-invalid mother. Caesar began singing as a young girl in church. She remained determined and continued her education while developing her remarkable musical talent. She eventually graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Marketing from Shaw University.
Caesar began her professional singing career by approaching the legendary "Queen of Gospel," Albertina Walker, founder, and lead singer of the world-famous gospel recording group The Caravans in the mid-1960s. She convinced Walker that she was of age and serious about singing with the most popular female gospel singing group then, The Caravans. Albertina Walker & The Caravans gave Shirley Caesar many opportunities to be in the spotlight as lead singer, such as on the gospel hit "Sweeping Through the City."
In 1966 her solo career began to take flight as audiences learned of her soul-stirring voice. Some of her solo hits include "No Charge," "Jesus (I Love Calling Your Name)," "Rejoice," and "Stand Still." Shirley Caesar is currently the Mount Calvary Word of Faith Church pastor in Raleigh, North Carolina. She has won 11 Grammies, 17 Dove Awards, 12 Stellar Awards, and the Soul Train Music Award for Best Gospel Album.
In 2000, the Gospel Music Association - which also hosts the Dove Awards - inducted her into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame at its headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee.