In Memoriam: Gospel Legend Delores Washington-Green

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Last night, I was saddened to learn that Mrs. Delores Washington-Green of the famous gospel group “The Caravans” had passed away. Yet, I was blessed to have been allowed to interview her in 2013 about the miracles she experienced in life. It was an interview coordinated (and strongly urged) by my mother. A few months earlier, my mother spoke with Mrs. Green at the funeral of another gospel legend and Caravans group mate Ms. Inez Andrews. For 3 months, my mother INSISTED that I e-mail Mrs. Green to get her story. One day, I finally got a reply and we headed to her home in the South Suburbs.

Mrs. Green was with her son, Leonidas, when she opened the door. She was very friendly and appreciative that we came to visit her. For us, the honor was greater. I never had the opportunity to interview her Caravan members Ms. Albertina Walker, Ms. Inez Andrews, and Ms. Cassietta George when they were living. Thankfully, we had a chance to meet her while she was living and we got a powerful sermon. As you will see in the video below, she was given a grim diagnosis and prognosis in 2004. But she lived 16 years past that. What a blessing.

It’s been a tough year for gospel music followers in Chicago. We’ve lost Mrs. Billie Barrett-Greenbey of the Barrett Sisters, Ms. Brenda Joyce Moore who composed “Perfect Praise (Oh Lord, How Excellent)” for the Soul Children of Chicago, Ron Anderson who was a former minister of music at Trinity United Church of Christ, and many others. With these losses, I wonder if there’s a way to create a greater presence for gospel music in local journalism. It is my hope to cover stories like these so we can keep their legacies alive. They may not be Chadwick Bosemans to the mainstream media, but they represented international royalty within our local music community.

While Mrs. Green’s story might not make the top of Chicago news, it is still powerful and worth the watch. My condolences to her family, friends, and colleagues. She will be greatly missed, but always remembered for singing that “Jesus was the best thing” that ever happened to her.

 

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