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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Gospel Singer Kierra Sheard Writes Open Letter to Her ‘Black History Legend’ Grandmother Dr. Mattie Moss Clark

Dr. Mattie Moss Clark, the pioneering mother of GRAMMY® winners, The Clark Sisters, is receiving some much-deserved recognition from her granddaughter during Black History Month.

Gospel singer Kierra Sheard has written an open letter to the legendary matriarch whom she rightly refers to as “a black history legend.”

“I wish you were here to see all that is happening with us! So many great blessings have been showered upon our family,” wrote the 29-year-old daughter of singer Karen Clark Sheard, who published the personal sentiments on her website.

For those who are unfamiliar with the iconic musician, Ebony Magazine dubbed the late great Church of God In Christ (COGIC) President of the International Music Department the “Queen of Gospel.”

Those who knew the woman that taught others never to sing, preach, or teach without prayer and to be sure Christ is always the center of attraction, simply called her “Dr. Clark,” “Mattie,” or “Madame President.”

Today, Dr. Clark remains one of the most influential and prominent historical figures in gospel music, and her accomplishments are deeply intertwined with her COGIC roots.

“To know what you stood for, and how you were so connected with the new generation in your day, I wonder if you would be proud of how I'm trying my best to stay connected with this new generation of my day,” wondered Sheard, founder of Bold! Right! Life!—a youth organization that strives to guide and nurture youth both spiritually, and naturally.

During her reflective mood, the Stellar Award-winning “Invisible” singer said, “I'm grateful for the many lessons that you've taught me directly, through Mommy and my aunts.”

Before sharing her innermost thoughts about her late grandma on the Internet, the Wayne State University graduate said, "i was up last night watching videos of you and seeing how passionate you were with your music.”

Clearly proud of her grandmother, the eleven60 fashion designer was careful to note that Dr. Clark is “still known as the first African American woman to have introduced three-part harmony to choirs/groups with many voices.”

Sheard added, “You were ahead of your time.”

Trained in classical music and choral singing at Selma University, Dr. Clark helped mold some very successful gospel artists such as Vanessa Bell Armstrong, Donald Vails, Commissioned, Bishop Richard “Mr. Clean” White, Bishop Rance Allen, and the late Rev. James Moore and her own daughters, The Clark Sisters, just to name a few.

She was born the seventh of nine children to Fred John Moss and Mattie Juliet Walker in Selma, AL, on March 26, 1925. She started playing the piano at six years old. By the age of 12, she was already a musician at Church of Christ and Prayer.

It was obvious early on that Dr. Clark was destined for greatness.

After leaving an indelible mark on the fabric of gospel music, she passed away September 22, 1994 of diabetes complications at the age of 69. Though she is gone, she is absolutely remembered.

Before ending her sweet letter, Sheard told her grandmother, “I love you. I miss you. Your legacy still lives! You're a Black History legend.”

Indeed she is.



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