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Unsung Sheroes: 10 Historical Black Women Figures

Sister Rosetta TharpeRosetta Tharpe

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a pioneer of 20th century music and is considered to be the vocalist responsible for introducing gospel music to the mainstream.

Known as “ The Godmother of Rock n’ Roll,” she gained popularity in the 1930s and 1940s due to her mixture of spiritual lyrics with rhythmic and rock instrumentation. Her song “Strange Things Happen Every Day,” hit No. 2 on the Billboard Race Records chart in 1945 becoming the first gospel record to crossover.

Tharpe’s music was an early influence to the careers of Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis. She was posthumously inducted in the Blues Hall of Fame in 2007.

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