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Bronzeville trolley tours set for fest

** FILE ** Mourners waiting view body Dr. MartLuther King Jr. queue up outside Ebenezer Baptist Church Atlantjust after dawn

** FILE ** Mourners waiting to view the body of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. queue up outside the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta just after dawn in this April 9, 1968 file photo. (AP Photo/File)

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Updated: June 21, 2012 8:41PM

The 27th Chicago Gospel Festival will present free trolley tours on June 23 that showcase three must-see historic Bronzeville churches that played an important role in the birth of Gospel Music:

— Ebenezer Baptist Church, 4501 S. Vincennes Ave. In 1931, the “father of gospel music,” Thomas A. Dorsey, joined singing evangelist Theodore R. Frye at this site for a pioneering concert that is regarded as the debut of the gospel chorus. In 1932 Dorsey was named choir director at the church where he remained until 1972.

— First Church of Deliverance, 4315 S. Wabash, designed by Chicago’s first African-American Architect, Walter T. Bailey. First Church of Deliverance was created in 1929 as a church and live radio broadcast studio specifically to spread gospel music.

— Pilgrim Baptist Church, 33rd and State Street, longtime church home of Dorsey.

The tours are about 90 minutes. Tours are at 1 1a.m., noon, 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. Particpants will tour the sites for about 15 minutes and depart from the Ellis Park festival site.

“We’ve done architectural tours, but we’ve never done a trolley tour in relation to one of our festivals,” said Ivy Hall, Gospel Music Festival Program Manager. “Seeing how this goes, we may add more.”

There is open, residential, non-permit/metered parking in the Bronzeville neighborhood, although public transportation to the festival is encouraged.

Dave Hoekstra

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