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Ann Yancy

Gospel music pioneer Ann Yancy was born on October 29, 1930, in Memphis, Tennessee. Yancy was the product of a deeply religious family, which includes uncles the Reverends Morris and Henry Edmonds; her brother Reverend Samuel Jordon; and her cousin Reverend Daniel Edmonds, all of Memphis, Tennessee. Yancy’s vocal talents were recognized at the age of eight while she was singing in the junior choir at Pearly Gates Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where she later became a member of the Sunshine Band.

Yancy was the fourth of seven children born to Leah Edmonds Brown and Elijah Rhodes of Lucy, Tennessee. Yancy graduated from Manasses Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1942, where she resided until 1943, when she moved to Gary, Indiana, with her aunt Lassie Edmonds Blair. Yancy attended Friederich Froebel High School and returned to Chicago in 1945.

In 1948, Yancy married Rev. Robert Yancy, Associate Pastor of Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church; she was widowed in 1973. Yancy and her husband had eight children (three became ministers): Reverends Kevin, and Darryl, the late Reverend Marvin J. Yancy, Derrick, Stevie, Sherwin, and Judy Yancy. Reverend Kevin Yancy, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1980 for producing the Gospel album Rev. Marvin J. Yancy and The Fountain of Life Joy Choir; Reverends Marvin and Kevin Yancy were the writers and producers of the Grammy Award nominated gospel recording, Heavy Load in 1985.

Yancy was an intricate part of the rich tapestry of Chicago Gospel music history; she was one of the lead soloists at Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, and a member of the renowned, Sylvia Boddie Gospel Singers. Yancy traveled throughout the United States with R.L. Knowles, The Robert Anderson Singers, and Willie Webb and the Roberta Martin Singers. Yancy appeared on recordings with the Robert Anderson Singers, the Roberta Martin Singers, and The Yancy Family Album. Yancy founded The Marvin Yancy Scholarship Foundation, and frequently spoke at Gospel conferences and seminars on the history of Gospel music.

Yancy passed away on March 12, 2018 at age 87.

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Friedrich Froebel High School

Manasses Elementary School

Harold Washington College

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He That Dwell In The Secret Place Of The Most High Shall Abeit Under The Shadows Of The Almighty.

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Gospel singer Ann Yancy (1930 - 2018 ) had a long career as a gospel singer both in Chicago and nationally. In addition to performing around the country with famous Gospel ensembles, Yancy's children also became successful within the Gospel music community.


Holy Family Head Start

Wiebolt Stores, Inc.

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Timing Pairs

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ann Yancy's interview</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ann Yancy lists her favorites</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ann Yancy describes her mother's family background, pt. 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ann Yancy describes her mother's family background, pt. 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ann Yancy talks about her brothers</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ann Yancy describes her father's family background</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Ann Yancy describes her earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Ann Yancy describes her family's living situation in Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Ann Yancy recalls her childhood at her maternal grandparents' home</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Ann Yancy remembers her community in Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ann Yancy recalls her maternal grandmother's death</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ann Yancy remembers her childhood friend from Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ann Yancy remembers moving to Chicago, Illinois and Gary, Indiana</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ann Yancy remembers Manassas High School in Memphis, Tennessee</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ann Yancy describes her childhood personality</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Ann Yancy remembers living with her aunt in Gary, Indiana, pt. 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Ann Yancy remembers living with her aunt in Gary, Indiana, pt. 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Ann Yancy remembers returning to Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Ann Yancy remembers teaching Sunday school as a young girl</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Ann Yancy reflects upon the church's understanding of younger generations</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ann Yancy recalls her positions at Weiboldt's and Eastman Kodak Company</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ann Yancy describes her living situations in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ann Yancy describes her early aspirations</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ann Yancy describes her early singing career in the church</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ann Yancy recalls singing at the Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ann Yancy remembers marrying Robert Yancy, Sr.</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ann Yancy describes the gospel performances at Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ann Yancy remembers her husband</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ann Yancy describes the choral programs at Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, pt. 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ann Yancy recalls her homes in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ann Yancy describes the choral programs at Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, pt. 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ann Yancy recalls lessons from Reverend Louis Boddie</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ann Yancy describes her husband's pastoral career</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Ann Yancy lists her children</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Ann Yancy remembers the Cabrini-Green Homes in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Ann Yancy describes her work at the Holy Family Head Start in Chicago, Illinois</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Ann Yancy describes her sons' interest in music, pt. 1</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Ann Yancy recalls how her son, Marvin Yancy, became a minister</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Ann Yancy talks about her sons' songs, 'Sign Me Up' and 'Heavy Load'</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Ann Yancy describes her sons' interest in music, pt. 2</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Ann Yancy remembers her husband and son's deaths</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Ann Yancy describes the Marvin Yancy Foundation</a>

<a href="">Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Ann Yancy reflects upon her experience of gospel music</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Ann Yancy recalls the gospel singers with whom she performed</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Ann Yancy describes her plans for the future</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Ann Yancy reflects upon her life</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Ann Yancy describes how she would like to be remembered</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Ann Yancy shares her favorite scripture and gospel song</a>

<a href="">Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Ann Yancy narrates her photographs</a>







Ann Yancy recalls lessons from Reverend Louis Boddie
Ann Yancy shares her favorite scripture and gospel song
And you know Greater Harvest [Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, Chicago, Illinois] was--Reverend Boddie [Louis Boddie] would teach us, so on Friday nights and sometime if you sitting in the dining room eating and he pass by, and you speak to him and everything then he'd come back and say, "You know God said so in so, so in so, so in so," and it would be a class right there (laughter). He didn't care where we--you know. Sometimes he'd make us sit down on the steps you know from the pulpit, we'd sit down there and he--when choir rehearsal was over with and he'd teach us there. He, he was just a word man, he was a word preacher and we got--he taught us so much about how to live, how to be good wives, how to be good husbands.$$What are some of the things he taught you about being a good wife?$$About being a good wife? "Don't come to church, or don't go nowhere unless you have made sure your husband, if he's not going with you, make sure that he has had a nice dinner, you know, the house is clean, the children are all clean and they're quiet, and then you go out." He said, "Don't come here unless you have taken care of your home first." He said, "That's the more important thing," and he said, "keep yourself clean and looking nice and pretty. Don't be looking any kind of way when he come home from work. So he's tired and he wants to see something that will make him happy and all, and make sure all the children is in the house when he come home and the food is on the table, ready or either it's cooked and ready for him." He taught us so much, he taught women how to you know keep their--keep themselves up. He said, "Some of you all walk around in the house with your house robe on or your gown on all night and your hair standing all over your head." He said, "Fix yourself up so that--for yourself first," he said, "and then for your husband when he come in. Do you think he wanna come in to something like that? Dishes all in the sink and the children running all around the house and you sitting, standing there looking crazy (laughter)," that's how he talked to us and you know also he would allow people to come and if they didn't have places to stay, they didn't have food he would give 'em--you know they could stay in the church and we had to see about them. That's how come the people at Greater Harvest was so loving and kind, we had to come and see about em' and he said, "And make sure that you are," you know he'd say, "if you wanna take 'em to your house, if you want to, you can," you know what I mean and he said you know. He taught us how to love, that's, that's what I'm saying here and most of us do love but you know sometimes you have not been taught, you didn't have to deal with people, you just look, see them and love 'em, either just deal with the people in your surroundings, but we had to deal with the people that came to the church, the drunks, the people that was on alcohol and all that. He let them stay in the church and all and he would have classes, and another one thing that he always said, "Feed 'em first." He said when they--a person come in the church hungry he said it wouldn't be right for us to sit up and have church and, and teaching and preaching and they hungry, they're not hearing what you're saying, feed 'em first and then preach to them, and that's how he did, and they did not feed people any kind of, any old thing, they feed 'em good food 'cause we would sit, we didn't eat until after they ate, and we bought ours, fifty cents, that's how much the dinners would cost, and they had break- I mean they would have meat, vegetables and potatoes and whatever you know, full complete meal in the church. Clothes, people came to church and needed their rent paid and all kind of (unclear). Preachers didn't make enough, get enough money at church and they needed to pay they rent for the church or whatever, he did it for them, and that's what, why people loved him so. He was so kind. I saw one day I was standing out there and it was, like the weather like it is now, and a lady passed by the church and she didn't--she had on high heel open toe shoes and he said, "Miss," he said, and she turned around, "You talking to me?" He said, "Yes," he said, "don't you have no boots?" She said, "No I don't," you know she didn't know where he was coming from, and he told Reverend Bracket [ph.], he said take her over to South Center [Chicago, Illinois] and get her some boots.$$And South Center was?$$It's a department store on 47th Street and that's where a lot of--most of them you know people would go at that time to South Center.$You had mentioned earlier about your relationship with Reverend Boddie [Louis Boddie].$$Um-hm.$$And that he--you learned a lot from him.$$Oh, yes.$$And you mentioned that when you met him he went--you went to his church [Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, Chicago, Illinois] and he told you to read the 51st Psalm.$$That's right.$$And is there something (simultaneous)?$$(Simultaneous) And all of us at Great--$$Would you just share with us in closing what part of the psalm meant the most to you?$$"Have mercy upon me oh God according to thy loving kindness, according to the multitude of our tender mercies," and then it, "wash me thoroughly from my iniquities and cleanse me from my sins." Then it says, "Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean, wash me and I shall be whiter than snow," and it says, "make me to hear joy and gladness that the bones which thou has broken may rejoice." It says, "Hide my, hide not thy face from my sin, hide thy face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities," and it says, "create in me a clean heart oh God and renew the right spirit within me, cast me not away from my--from thy presence and take not their holy spirit from me praise God" [Psalm 51: 1-11].$$We would like to thank you so much for sharing your story. Thank you so much for being a HistoryMaker and being who you are.$$Praise God.$$And how important you are to gospel and to the community, and just before we go I would like for us, for you to you share with us a song that just may mean the most to your heart.$$(Singing) "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, and to take Him at his word; just to rest upon His promise, just to know, thus sayeth the Lord. Jesus, Jesus, how I trust you; how I proved you o'er and o'er; Jesus, Jesus precious Jesus. Oh, for grace to trust thee more" ['Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus'].