B&N Audiobooks Subscription = SAVINGS. Sign Up Today for a Free Book!
The Last Blues Preacher: Reverend Clay Evans, Black Lives, and the Faith that Woke the Nation

The Last Blues Preacher: Reverend Clay Evans, Black Lives, and the Faith that Woke the Nation

by Zach Mills


View All Available Formats & Editions


Born in 1925 into a life of sharecropping in Brownsville, Tennessee, Clay Evans was desperate to escape life working for the descendants of plantation owners. At night, he listened to jazz musicians like Cab Calloway and Guy Lombardo on the radio and imagined one day singing on a secular stage. But a greater calling drew Evans into ministry, and he soon stood upon a unique stage as one of America's most famous gospel singers, civil rights heroes, and the godfather of Chicago's black preachers. From this stage Clay sought to rescue his family from poverty and inspire a city and a nation to see, hear, and witness the dignity and value of black lives.

Zach Mills's lively and powerful biography, The Last Blues Preacher, brings the life and work of Reverend Evans into our time and examines how current national conversations on race, religion, politics, and popular culture can and should inform contemporary activism.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781506428178
Publisher: 1517 Media
Publication date: 05/01/2018
Pages: 277
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Zach Mills is a communications scholar and public speaking consultant who studies race, religion, media, and popular culture. He earned an Mdiv focusing on social justice and an MA in preaching from Vanderbilt University, and a PhD in Rhetoric and Public Culture from Northwestern University.

Table of Contents

Preface vii

Acknowledgments xv

Introduction xvii

Part I Beginnings

1 Who Me? 3

2 Ear All the Way Down 27

3 Walk in Jerusalem 47

4 A Home over in Zion 63

5 A Love Supreme 79

6 A Charge I Have to Keep 85

Part II Launching the Ship

7 Got a New Name 99

8 It's Growing! 109

9 Reverend Mother York 119

10 What a Fellowship! 137

Part III On Open Seas

11 Looking for a City Called Heaven 149

12 Singing in Zion 165

13 The Tempest Is Raging 187

14 Breaking Bread Together 219

15 Sweeping through the City 227

Part IV Docking The Ship

16 The Captain Retires 241

17 I've Got a Testimony 255

18 Last of the Blues Preachers? 269

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

"This book brings into cultural focus the sound, passion, and commitments of one of the most recognized voices in the history of black preaching and gospel musicology of the twentieth century. Rev. Evans reminded many of us growing up in Chicago every Sunday evening that 'there is room at the cross for you.' The Last Blues Preacher is a monumental gift to the black religious and cultural legacy of Rev. Evans." --Victor Anderson, Vanderbilt Divinity School

"In this book, Mills writes a sermonic and sonic anthem to the life of Reverend Clay Evans. This book not only offers readers a deeper description of the life of a son of the black church but also encourages leaders who desire to transform their communities and broader world. A must read." --Keri Day, Princeton Theological Seminary

"Rev. Clay Evans is a spiritual treasure. He is what many consider, a preacherÂs preacher. Through his understanding of the word, his social activism, and his commitment to his spirituality, Rev. Evans has carved out a unique niche steeped in a cultural tradition that has transcended generations. His contribution on this earth will be eternal." --Melody Spann Cooper, chairman and CEO of Midway Broadcasting Corporation and president of WVON Radio-Chicago

"The Last Blues Preacher tells of a pastor who used music, preaching, and a deep conviction to inspire, teach, and challenge. The story of Reverend Clay Evans is a story of Chicago politics, the black church experience, and the struggle for freedom. Rev. Evans used his pulpit to save the souls of individuals and save the soul of a city." --Michael Pfleger, senior pastor of The Faith Community of Saint Sabina in Chicago

"The voice of Clay Evans reverberates throughout this marvelous book. With a poet's passion and a professor's precision, Zach Mills chronicles Rev. Evans's tenacious faith and audacious creativity. After reading The Last Blues Preacher, you wonÂt have the blues anymore. Your soul will sing gospel." -- Brad R. Braxton, director of the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life at Smithsonian Institution

Customer Reviews