SEE THAT MY GRAVE IS KEPT CLEAN: 35 Years After Death, Sister Rosetta Tharpe Finally Gets A Headstone


Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the pioneering gospel musician and instrumentalist, finally has a gravestone marking her resting place at Northwood Cemetery in Philadelphia.  Since her passing in 1973, the gravesite of Sister Rosetta had been a barren plot lacking any memorial. Today, a beautiful, rose-colored monument bears respect to one of America’s most influential artists of the 20th Century. Sister Rosetta’s monument was partially funded by a benefit concert at the Keswick Theatre in Glenside, PA on January 11, 2008, that featured performances by gospel and spiritual music legends—The Dixie Hummingbirds, Odetta, Marie Knight, Willa Ward, The Johnny Thompson Singers, and The Huff Singers. Additional financial contributions were provided by Philadelphia’s Rhythm & Blues Foundation, and the Blues Foundation in Memphis. It is noteworthy that the placement of Sister Rosetta’s monument coincides with the recent passing of two groundbreaking musicians she deeply influenced—Ira Tucker of The Dixie Hummingbirds, and Odetta, the Queen of American Folk Music.  In an interview prior to the benefit concert with the Northeast Times, Odetta talked about the road Rosetta paved: “She is a part of that history that was so valuable and is so valuable to young blacks as we were coming along.  She is certainly a champion where the guitar is concerned.  My playing was a fair rhythm guitar, but that woman could play the guitar.”


PREVIOUSLY: Guv’s Proclamation
WIKIPEDIA: Who Is Sister Rosetta Tharpe?

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