gospel group, Memphis
Tennessee Folklife Heritage Award (2001)
One of the oldest continually active African American gospel groups in the country, the Spirit of Memphis Quartet was founded in 1930. During their first few years, they were among the only black musical groups prominent on local radio. As a capella quartet singing surged in national popularity, the Spirit of Memphis took the name of their hometown across the country, regularly singing, as they did at home, in church and auditorium programs. After World War II they also enjoyed a successful recording career for many years, experiencing personnel changes which brought into the group some of the most renowned singers in the quartet genre. In recent decades the group has remained active under the able leadership of Melvin Mosley, performing often in local programs and heritage music events.