Inductees Archive

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Shirley Caesar

Shirley Caesar was singing gospel at the age of 12 to help support her widowed mother. In 1958, she joined the Caravans with gospel singers Albertina Walker, Bessie Griffin, Delores Washington, Inez Andrews, Cassietta George and Rev. James Cleveland on piano. Caesar’s fiery zeal for Christian ministry inspired her to develop her own preaching style. She left the Caravans behind in 1966 and turned to evangelism, preaching and singing in churches and venues around the country with the Shirley Caesar Singers. Shirley Caesar Outreach Ministries was founded in the 1980s to offer assistance and counseling to the poor in her hometown of Durham, North Carolina. In 1990, Caesar opened her own Pentecostal church. Most of Caesar’s albums are recorded live, capturing the power of gospel music at its best. Along with the numerous Grammy, Dove and Stellar awards she’s received, Caesar has also performed on Broadway appearing in the productions Born to Sing: Mama 3, Mama I Want to Sing and Sing Mama 2.

 

Induction Year

2000

 

Group

The Caravans

 

Colleagues and Contemporaries:

  • Albertina Walker
  • James Cleveland
  • Inez Andrews

 

Roles

  • Singer
  • Preacher

 

Hometown

Durham, North Carolina

 

Video

Shirley Caeser singing “He’s Working It Out”