By REGGIE ROSS
Lucie Cambell died 65 years ago, but the town of Duck Hill celebrated Black History Month Friday by honoring the gospel music pioneer who was born in that town.
The ceremony took place at the caboose that sits along Highway 51 with local and state officials present to witness the unveiling of the historical marker bearing the name of Campbell, considered by many as the “Mother of Gospel Music.”
“This is a day that we will always remember,” said Duck Hill Mayor Joey Cooley. “Tell your family and friends about this historical marker. Come to Duck Hill and see just what we’re all about. It’s the birthplace of one of the most influential people in the history of gospel music.”
The historical marker was made possible through grant funding and contributions from agencies such as the Mississippi Arts Commission, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Mississippi Arts Commission and Grenada Tourism.
Al White, who serves as executive director of Action Communication and Education Reform, Inc., called Campbell an international pioneer.
“Lucie Campbell’s song writing is known throughout the world,” White said. “Today, we Mississippians honor our native daughter and her legacy with this historical marker in the vicinity of her birthplace near the red caboose.”
Born in Duck Hill in 1885, Campbell left the Montgomery County town following the death of her father.
She spent the rest of her life in Memphis making her mark on the gospel music scene and as an educator throughout the 20th century.
Today in Memphis, an elementary school bears her name in the Frazier community.
“She had a tremendous impact on the world of gospel music,” White said.
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