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Shirley Caesar Shirley Caesar also called the First Lady of Gospel is a well-known gospel singer activist in the community and pastor Although she has accomplished many awards and honors she has worked hard and exhibited a lot of dedication to achieve whatever goals she had set Caesar was born on October 13 1938 in Durham North Carolina Her parents are James and Hannah Caesar and she was the tenth of twelve children James Caesar was also known as Big Jim He was very important in the start of his daughters gospel singing career At a young age Caesar would listen observe and learn from the gospel quartet Just Come Four Her father was the lead singer of this group and by the impressionable age of ten she was performing solos before their concerts Around this age was when she received the name of Baby Shirley the gospel singer In 1950 a tragic thing happened Big Jim died in his sleep of a fatal seizure Caesar for many years believed that her father had passed away because he had spanked her earlier in the day With her father gone she was left with her semi-invalid mother to take care of During this time she joined a troupe led by a preacher with one leg named Leroy Johnson With this group she traveled through Virginia and the Carolinas as a soloist Shirley Caesar recorded her first song in November of 1951 The song was called Id Rather Have Jesus Caesar led a very busy life traveling to many different places doing what she loved singing From about fourteen until about the age of eighteen she traveled throughout the south with Leroy Johnson Sometimes she would travel from concerts all night so that she would be able to attend classes the next morning After graduation Caesar began her college education at North Carolina College in her hometown She would start out majoring in business education North
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