Recent Articles

Cassondra Lee ”Sunny” Ross

Cassondra Lee ”Sunny” Ross of St. Paul passed away unexpectedly on Jan. 8, 2015 at the age of 67. She was preceded in death by parents and brothers and survived by children Roberta of Fort Worth, TX, Rodney of Dallas, TX and Rosemond of Oakdale, MN; sisters Betsy and Loretha Lloyd of St. Paul; sister-in-law Caroline Ross; Lillie Folks of Tulsa, OK; and a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Continue Reading →

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Andraé Crouch, gospel great passes


Many followed his crossover path
Andraé Crouch, vocalist, composer, arranger, producer and pastor who was widely regarded as the father of modern gospel, is gone. Credited with helping to pave the way for early American contemporary Christian music in the 1960s and ’70s, Crouch was well known for his compositions “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power,” which he recorded with Billy Preston in 1960 as a member of Church of God in Christ Singers; “My Tribute (To God Be the Glory)”; and “Soon and Very Soon.”

Indicating his significance as a recording artist, he’d backed up on session such stellar figures as Joe Sample, Phillip Bailey, Stevie Wonder, El Debarge and The Andraé Crouch Singers. During the 1980s, Andraé Crouch collaborated with Wonder, Elton John and Quincy Jones and conducted choirs for Michael Jackson’s “Man in the Mirror” and Madonna’s “Like a Prayer.”

His affiliation with Light Records was essential in recruiting Walter and Tramaine Hawkins, Jessy Dixon and The Winans to the company, where they all saw successful gospel music careers. His influence extended to the likes of such Christian artists as BeBe and CeCe Winans, The Clark Sisters, Wintley Phipps, Anointed and Israel Houghton. His arrangements are featured in the films The Color Purple and The Lion King as well as the television series Amen starring Sherman Helmsley, Anna Maria Horsford and Clifton Davis. Continue Reading →

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As part of our celebration over the next several months of our 80 years of continuous publication, the MSR will be republishing notable stories from our extensive archives of more than 4,000 weekly issues of African American news in Minnesota. Many of our readers will be sure to recognize friends, family and neighbors from the distant and not-so-distant past — such as the passing of one of the last surviving Black Civil War veterans reported in the April 13, 1945 issue of the Minneapolis Spokesman. Continue Reading →

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Venita C. Wells September 28, 1923 — December 8, 2014

Venita Carmen Wells, 91, was called home to be with the Lord on Monday, December 8, 2014, at Unity Point Methodist Medical Center in Des Moines. A Memorial Service celebrating Venita’s life was held at 10 am on Saturday, December 13, at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul in Des Moines of which she was a member. A private committal service will take place at a later date. Venita was born on September 28, 1923 in Des Moines, Iowa to Gilbert and Ethel (Fountain) Quincy. Continue Reading →

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Activist, former D.C. mayor Marion Barry passes

Marion S. Barry, stalwart civil rights activist cum prominent politician, passed away Nov. 23 at age 78 owing to cardiac arrest. Barry, of course, was infamously publicized for his 1990 arrest and subsequent incarceration for drug possession. Like many chemically dependent individuals his was a virtually lifelong affliction that marred his professional career and personal life. Born in Itta Bena, Mississippi, he graduated LeMoyne College where he was president of LeMoyne’s chapter of the NAACP. Continue Reading →

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