Doris Akers (1923 – 1995)
Inducted in 2011
Benefactor: Friends Of The SGMA
Doris Akers, born in Brookfield, Missouri, on May 21, 1923, was one of ten children. She learned to play the piano by ear at age six and by age ten had composed her first song. By the time she was twelve, she had organized a five-piece band that played music of the 1930's.
When she was only 22 years of age, she moved to Los Angeles, where she encountered a thriving gospel music community. She met several outstanding musicians, such as Eugene Douglas Smallwood, who greatly influenced the gospel music career of this young African-American lady. A year later, Doris joined the Sallie Martin Singers as pianist and singer. Two years later, with Dorothy Vemell Simmons, she formed the Simmons Akers Singers and also launched a publishing firm called Akers Music House. Many artists, including the Stamps Baxter Quartet, Bill Gaither, Statesmen, and Mahalia Jackson, have recorded Akers’ songs. Countless other Southern Gospel Music groups still record and sing her music. Millions of church members have sung her songs, which have long been published in many hymnals.
She was a recording artist, music arranger, choir director, and songwriter and was awarded Gospel Music Composer of the Year for both 1960 and 1961. She was honored by the Smithsonian Institution, which labeled her songs and records National Treasures. Her most noted composition, without a doubt, is Sweet, Sweet Spirit. She was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2001. Until the end of her earthly life, Doris Akers believed that God wanted His children to pray. Her songs have circled the globe, aiding Christians of all nationalities in their worship of the heavenly Father. She passed away on July 26, 1995, in Minneapolis.
Doyle Blackwood (1911 – 1974)
Inducted in 2011
Terry Blackwood – Friends Of The SGMA
Doyle Blackwood, born in 1911, was captivated early on by the familyís love of music. He learned to play guitar and mandolin and even practiced voice projection from the top of tree stumps near the family home in rural Choctaw County in Northern Mississippi. Doyle and his brother James worked diligently at the Clear Springs Church Singing School near their home. Their talent was noted and they quickly found themselves singing in a quartet with their teacher Vardaman Ray singing lead and Gene Catledge singing bass.
Soon, the Choctaw County Jubilee Singers became quite popular in their area of Mississippi. They sang in the area for about a year and Mr. Ray contributed a great deal to the professionalism that the young Blackwoods continued throughout their career. Doyle and James ventured out locally with the Choctaw County Singers. In 1934, Roy, the brother of Doyle and James, moved back to Choctaw County and, with that move, the Blackwood Brothers Quartet was formed.
The 23 year old Doyle sang bass and played the guitar. The Blackwood Brothers Quartet disbanded in late 1935 and Doyle began to teach singing schools and sang briefly with the Homeland Harmony Quartet. When the Blackwoods reunited in 1937, Doyle gave up his stint with the Homeland Harmony Quartet to rejoin his brothers. At this time, the Blackwoods were using only Doyleís guitar as the sole accompaniment for the group. V.O. Stamps felt that the group needed a pianist, so he assigned Joe Roper to be the first pianist for the quartet. The year was 1939. The Stamps organization had provided the Blackwoods with a pianist, an automobile, and a steady income of $18.50 per member each week. Doyle retired from the quartet in the late 40’s and managed the Blackwood Brothers Record Shop in Memphis. He later sang with The Memphians Quartet with his son, Terry, and Verle Pilant, Chalmers Walker and Jack Marshall.
Inducted in 2011
The Bob Brumley Family:
Wife – Tudy: Daughter – Elaine & husband Brad – Son – Bobby & wife Jane – Daughter – Betsy & husband Kevin – Grandsons Trey, Caleb, Reagan & Colton
Robert “Bob” Bartlett Brumley was born December 7, 1937. He is one of the most respected men in Southern Gospel Music today. He is known for his honesty, integrity, hard work and undying love for his father and mother – and devotion to Southern Gospel Music. He proudly carries on the tradition of keeping alive the music of his father, the late Albert E. Brumley, the pre-eminent gospel songwriter of the 20th century with over 600 published songs.
Bob continues publishing shape note songbooks, something the companies of Albert E. Brumley & Sons/Hartford Music have been doing since the early 1900s. Bob gained control of the company in the early 1980's. Since that time, he has seen the Gospel songs his dad wrote, and the company owns, recorded by virtually every music genre. In addition, major movies, including O Brother, Where Art Thou and The Apostle, used Brumley’s I’ll Fly Away. Bob also continues to promote America’s largest summer gospel music event, “The Albert E. Brumley Memorial Gospel Sing”, which was established by his father in 1969. This event gives many of the major artists a popular showplace to perform and showcase their music. In 1990, Bob co-founded Integrated Copyright Group in Nashville, TN. He was the recipient of the James D. Vaughan Impact Award in 2006. He served as president of the Southern Gospel Music Association 2007-2009 and currently serves on its Board of Directors.