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First Church of Deliverance

4315 S Wabash Ave.

The First Church Of Deliverance is a prominent example of Art Moderne architecture in Chicago and its role in developing gospel music is just as crucial. This was where the church’s musical director Kenneth Morris introduced the Hammond organ to gospel during the 1930s. The instrument was faster than a pipe organ, could mirror the sound of the human voice and has since become integral to the music—not so coincidentally, the instrument was also developed in Chicago. When the church’s Rev. Clarence Cobb began his Sunday night radio broadcasts in 1935, he brought the sound of its 200-person choir, and the sound of gospel itself, to thousands of listeners. This church also sought new entrepreneurship ventures as it had its own in-house publishing and printing enterprises. As First Church Of Deliverance became a globally recognized institution, this was where generations of gospel songwriters would first try out new compositions. Numerous star soloists also started singing here, including Myrtle Jackson and Irma Gwynn.

– A.C. 

Caption: Current location of First Church of Deliverance.

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