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The Last Blues Preacher

The Last Blues Preacher: Reverend Clay Evans, Black Lives, and the Faith that Woke the Nation

Author: 
Zach Mills (Author)
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Description

Born in 1925 into a life of sharecropping in Brownsville, Tennessee, Clay Evans was desperate to escape life working for the descendants of plantation owners. At night, he listened to jazz musicians like Cab Calloway and Guy Lombardo on the radio and imagined one day singing on a secular stage. But a greater calling drew Evans into ministry, and he soon stood upon a unique stage as one of America’s most famous gospel singers, civil rights heroes, and the godfather of Chicago’s black preachers. From this stage, Clay sought to rescue his family from poverty and inspire a city and a nation to see, hear, and witness the dignity and value of black lives.

Zach Mills’s lively and powerful biography, The Last Blues Preacher, brings the life and work of Reverend Evans into our time and examines how current national conversations on race, religion, politics, and popular culture can and should inform contemporary activism. 

ISBN: 
9781506428178
Price: 
$26.99
ISBN: 
9781506446554
Price: 
$26.99
Release date: 
May 1, 2018
Pages: 
277
Width: 
6
Height: 
9

Endorsements

A monumental gift to the black religious and cultural legacy of Rev. Evans.

"Mills’s biography of the Reverend Clay Evans brings into cultural focus the sound, passion, and commitments of one of the most recognized voices in the history of black preaching and gospel musicology of the twentieth century. Rev. Evans reminded many of us growing up in Chicago every Sunday evening that 'there is room at the cross for you.' Mills’s biography is a monumental gift to the black religious and cultural legacy of Rev. Evans."

Victor Anderson | Vanderbilt Divinity School

Encourages leaders who desire to transform their communities and broader world. A must read.

"In The Last Blues Preacher, Mills writes a sermonic and sonic anthem to the life of Clay Evans. This book not only offers readers a deeper description of the life of a son of the black church but also encourages leaders who desire to transform their communities and broader world. A must read."

Keri Day | Princeton Theological Seminary

Rev. Evans has carved out a unique niche steeped in a cultural tradition that has transcended generations. His contribution on this earth will be eternal.

"Rev. Clay Evans is a spiritual treasure. He is what many consider, a preacher’s preacher. Through his understanding of the word, his social activism, and his commitment to his spirituality, Rev. Evans has carved out a unique niche steeped in a cultural tradition that has transcended generations. His contribution on this earth will be eternal."

Melody Spann Cooper | chairman and CEO of Midway Broadcasting Corporation and president of WVON Radio-Chicago

The story of Rev. Evans is a story of Chicago politics, the black church experience, and the struggle for freedom. 

"The Last Blues Preacher tells of a pastor who used music, preaching, and a deep conviction to inspire, teach, and challenge. The story of Rev. Clay Evans is a story of Chicago politics, the black church experience, and the struggle for freedom. Rev. Evans used his pulpit to save the souls of individuals and save the soul of a city."

Michael Pfleger | senior pastor of The Faith Community of Saint Sabina in Chicago

After reading The Last Blues Preacher, you won’t have the blues anymore.  Your soul will sing gospel.

"The voice of Clay Evans, the legendary Chicago pastor and social activist, reverberates throughout this marvelous book.  With a poet’s passion and a professor’s precision, Zach Mills chronicles Evans’s tenacious faith and audacious creativity.  This faith enabled Evans to overcome social barriers for the sake of social justice. This creativity empowered Evans to use broadcast media as an electronic pulpit from which he has inspired so many. After reading The Last Blues Preacher, you won’t have the blues anymore. Your soul will sing gospel."

Brad R. Braxton | director, Center for the Study of African American Religious Life, Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture