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Cleotha ‘Cleedi’ Staples, a founding member of the pioneering folk-gospel group, The Staple Singers, has died at the age of 78. She had gracefully battled Alzheimer’s disease for the last decade and passed away peacefully at her Chicago home on the morning of February 21, 2013.

Staples was born April 11, 1934 in Drew, Mississippi.  She was the first-born child of Roebuck “Pops” Staples and his wife, Oceola.  The family moved to Chicago in 1936 for better job opportunities. In the Windy City, siblings Pervis, Yvonne, Mavis and Cynthia were born. Pops worked a variety of manual labor jobs during the day and Oceola worked at the Morrison Hotel at night. To entertain the children in the evening,

Pops began to teach them gospel songs while he strummed along on his ten-dollar guitar. His sister Katie enjoyed the sing-a-longs so much that she arranged for the family to sing at her church one Sunday morning in 1948.  The family was called out for three encores and more than $7 was raised in the offering basket.  Pops realized the family group had a future, and The Staple Singers were born.

 

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article courtesy of EEWMagazine.com

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