Cover

pdf iconDownload PDF
 

Title Page, Copyright

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. i-iv

Contents

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. v-vi

read more

Preface

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. vii-xiv

The first time I met Rev. Clay Evans was on a brisk summer afternoon in Chicago on Thursday, August 25, 2011. The air outside that morning was cool, as if fall had stolen a few weeks of summer. We sat outside on a patio deck. We had...

read more

Acknowledgments

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xv-xvi

To my parents, Janet and Hank, I am forever grateful for the unwavering enthusiasm you provided during the eight years I spent writing The Last Blues Preacher. Your constant support, counsel, and encouraging words comforted me during...

read more

Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. xvii-xxvi

When Rev. Clay Evans journeyed to Chicago from Brownsville, Tennessee, in 1945, he brought the rich cultural and religious traditions of black southern culture. One of these traditions, a folk orality, had dramatically shaped...

Part I. Beginnings

read more

1. Who Me?

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 29-52

Rev. Clay Evans will never read aword of this story.Not one word. He would; he just can’t. His eyesight isn’t what it used to be. It’s a hard truth, a difficult reality. But Reverend Evans won’t ever read his story on these published pages. No matter...

read more

2. Ear All the Way Down

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 53-72

BETWEEN 1935 AND 1945—In Brownsville during Clay Evans’s childhood, as in many rural towns throughout the South in the early 1900s, the ever-hovering shadow of racial violence terrorized the town. Evans’s voice gets softer, his...

read more

3. Walk in Jerusalem

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 73-88

THE YEARWAS 1945—Like young RichardWright, Clay Evans dreamed of living in Chicago. In bothmen’s imaginations, the city was a New Jerusalem—a land of opportunity, a place of new beginnings, a hallowed metropolis for realizing...

read more

4. A Home over in Zion

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 89-104

BETWEEN 1946 AND 1950—Evans stood mesmerized in the middle of Martin and Morris Publishing House on 4312 South Indiana Avenue. The studio, which had opened its doors in 1940, housed stacks of sheet music by some of...

read more

5. A Love Supreme

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 105-110

THE YEAR WAS 1946—Life as the director of the youngadult choir at Tabernacle Missionary Baptist Church was demanding. Not only was Evans responsible for determining what music the young adults sang each Sunday, but...

read more

6. A Charge I Have to Keep

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 111-122

SEPTEMBER 1950—Evans dangled seven stories above a concrete sidewalk. His security belt was fastened securely into hooks on the side of a window. The life of a window washer was risky business. But Evans took great comfort...

Part II. Launching the Ship

read more

7. Got a New Name

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 125-134

SEPTEMBER 1950—Around 11:30 a.m. on Sunday, September 17, 1950, Evans stood confidently behind the wooden podium in the small chapel at A. R. Leak Funeral Home at 4506 State Street. It was his first sermon as pastor of Hickory...

read more

8. It’s Growing!

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 135-144

THE YEAR WAS 1951—When Evans moved Fellowship from A. R. Leak Funeral Home to Canaan Center, he had one primary goal: to transform the congregation’s worship service. “My background was music, so I was always interested...

read more

9. Reverend Mother York

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 145-162

BETWEEN 1951 AND 1954—An often-unheard part of Evans’s story involves the friendships he made as a seminary student at Chicago Baptist Institute. He enjoyed every part of his seminary experience. The classes were challenging...

read more

10. What a Fellowship!

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 163-172

FALL 1952—Around 10:30 a.m. each Sunday morning, people searched anxiously for parking at Canaan Center. About this time each Sunday, the empty parking spaces would begin to disappear. Many rushed to the church...

Part III. On Open Seas

read more

11. Looking for a City Called Heaven

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 175-190

THE YEAR WAS 1954—Dirt clung to the walls. Cobwebs littered the rafters. Grease stains covered the floor. The smell of gasoline lingered. The grittiness of the abandoned mechanic’s garage looked and smelled and felt irreverent...

read more

12. Singing in Zion

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 191-212

BETWEEN 1959 AND THE 1990s—By the time Evans moved Fellowship to its present location at 4543 South Princeton Avenue in November 1959, the choir boasted well over one hundred people. Evans’s sister Lou Della had...

read more

13. The Tempest Is Raging

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 213-244

SUNDAY, JULY 4, 1965—Two young civil rights activists drove down a Chicago highway, listening to the car radio. Educated and passionate, both were eager to become more involved in the national movement for civil rights that Dr...

read more

14. Breaking Bread Together

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 245-252

THE EARLY 1990s—During Evans’s pastoral ministry at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church, he worked with many talented ministers. One such minister was Rev. Shelvin Jerome Hall. Hall began pastoring the Friendship...

read more

15. Sweeping through the City

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 253-264

BETWEEN THE EARLY AND LATE 1990s—By the early 1990s, many African American pastors in Chicago had become highly suspicious of elected leaders and frustrated with the inner workings of the city’s political process. Many...

Part IV. Docking the Ship

read more

16. The Captain Retires

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 267-280

THE LATE 1990s—One morning Evans awoke at 4:30 a.m., as he always did on Sunday mornings. He crawled out of bed, slowly. It was time to begin his many rituals to prepare for worship at Fellowship. Waking at such an early hour...

read more

17. I’ve Got a Testimony

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 281-294

APRIL 2001—It was a Sunday morning around 4:30 a.m. Evans awoke ready to start the day. Fourmonths had passed since he had retired from Fellowship. Since then, life had certainly been less hectic, especially on the Sundays. Evans...

read more

18. Last of the Blues Preachers?

pdf iconDownload PDF

pp. 295-304

SUNDAY, AUGUST 26, 2012—Rev. Clay Evans sat calmly in the pulpit at Six Grace Presbyterian Church on 600 East 35th Street in Chicago. The small sanctuary was full of people gathered to hear the city’s most legendary living pastor...