From One En Ti Ty
Hailed as the ?Queen of Gospel,? Dr. Albertina Walker was born in 1929 in Chicago, IL. At the age of four, Albertina began singing in the children?s choir of West Point Baptist Church. It was during this time that America had undergone a major economic collapse, and the country was experiencing a great social and political upheaval. The African American church was at the heart of this cultural awakening, and gospel music was slowly gaining acceptance in the African American churches, thanks to the efforts of gospel greats such as Professor Thomas A. Dorsey and Albertina’s friend and mentor, Mahalia Jackson. By the time she reached her late teens, Albertina was a member of the Williams singers, and toured with the Willie Webb and Robert Anderson Singers.
At the urging of Mahalia Jackson, in 1951 at just twenty-two years of age Ms. Walker organized her own gospel singing group- the world famous CARAVANS. It was in this legendary group that Albertina discovered and launched the careers of Inez Andrews, Shirley Caesar, the late, Cassietta George, Dorothy Norwood, Delores Washington and the late and great, Reverend James Cleveland among a host of others. This rightfully earned Albertina the title ?Albertina Walker-The Star Maker.? The Caravans achieved great success during their spectacular run, becoming household names with gold hits like ?Sweeping Through The City,? ?Mary Don?t You Weep,? ?Walk Around Heaven? and ?Lord Keep Me Day by Day.?
After a stellar career with her group, The Caravans, Albertina went on to phenomenal success as a solo artist recording her first project ?Put A Little Love in Your Heart? in 1975, produced by Donnie Hathaway. To date, Ms. Walker has written over 100 songs such as, ?I?ve Got A Feeling Everything Will Be Alright? and ?Jesus Will Fix It;? recorded 71 albums, including hits such as the gold selling ?Please Be Patient With Me,? ?I Can Go To God In Prayer,? ?Spread The Word,? ?The Best Is Yet To Come,? Work On Me? and ?Joy Will Come.? Albertina still enjoys an active recording career recently reuniting with her group, The Caravans, in 2006 to release the entitled album ?Paved The Way,? and are currently working on their new 2010 release while often lending her talents to the projects of other gospel artists.
Mesmerizing and authentic in her performance, Dr. Albertina Walker?s music has been recorded and emulated, not just by gospel artists, but secular artists alike; such as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Al Green and Elvis Presley.
Albertina is committed to the preservation of gospel music and the enhancement of the human experience. To this end, she has lent her support to many charitable organizations such as The United Negro College Fund, The American Cancer Society, The National Council of Negro Women, The Nation of Islam’s “Million Family” March, One Voice: ?A Fight Against AIDS?, The NAACP and Operation Push. In 1988, she founded The Albertina Walker Scholarship Foundation for the Creative and Performing Arts- a non-for profit 501(C) 3 organization that offers financial assistance in the form of scholarships to college and music students who aspire to serve in the gospel community.
Ms. Walker?s personal and television appearances worldwide are a illustrious and vast in numbers. She has sung for President Barack Obama, former United States Presidents George Bush and Bill Clinton and President Nelson Mandela of South Africa. Albertina has appeared on her own radio broadcast, ?The Albertina Walker Gospel Program,? on radio Station WMPP in Chicago, ?Good Morning America,? ?Oprah Winfery?s A.M. Chicago,? ?The Tavis Smiley Show? and ?The Bill Gaither Gospel Homecoming Show.? Ms. Walker is also a frequent guest on the nationally syndicated BET and Word Television shows ?Bobby Jones Gospel,? ?Testify? and ?Singsation.? Her fans have also enjoyed her in the motion picture and the soundtrack of ?Leap of Faith,? starring Steve Martin, ?Going Home to Gospel with Patti Labelle,? the Off-Broadway plays ?The Gospel Truth? and ?The Evolution of Gospel.?
Dr. Albertina Walker?s gift in music ministry and unselfish commitment to humanity for over six decades has earned her many awards and honors. Among them, a 1995 Grammy Award for the Best Traditional Gospel Album (?Songs of The Church?); 11 Grammy Award nominations; 2005 Grammy President?s Merit Award; 6 Gold Records; 4 Stellar Awards; BMI Award; several Gospel Music Workshop of America Excellence Awards; 2004 Trumpet Award; inducted into the 1997 and 2001 Gospel Music Hall of Fame in Detroit, Michigan and Nashville, Tennessee; several keys to cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York; honored at the Chicago Gospel Festival where a bench bearing her name was placed in downtown Chicago?s Grant Park and a Chicago street renamed in her honor; conferred an honorary Doctor of Letters degree from the Chicago Theological Seminary (an institution of the University of Chicago); a 2005 National Endowment of The Arts Award of $ 20,000.00; a National Association of Broadcasters Pioneer Award; and a 2010 Kennedy Center Honor saluting Gospel Music. In 2002, the former President of the United States, President Bush, honored Ms. Walker for her contributions to gospel music at a special ceremony held at the White House in Washington D.C. in recognition of Black Music Month.
Dr. Albertina Walker?s unselfish devotion, contributions and love for gospel music has truly earned her the historical rank as the ?Queen of Gospel?. Exuberating her message of strength and faith in God, Albertina continues to sing with a voice of strength and a spirit of triumph, “I’m Still Here.”