It is with deep sadness and great regret that we report the death of Albertina Walker. According to her publicist, the Gospel legend died this morning at 4:30 a.m. in her hometown Chicago.
In early September, rumors of Walker’s passing had spread so wildly that she posted a message on her Facebook page stating: “I’m still here no matter what you might have heard.” At the time, she was in ICU dealing with respiratory problems–a condition she battled for years, and kept her on ventilator for the last few years of her life.
On Tuesday, September 7th, Queen Albertina had a tracheostomy which doctors deemed a success, and late last month she checked out a Chicago hospital. The great news prompted many to believe that Walker was on the road to recovery. While she will be missed tremendously, we can take comfort in the fact that The Queen of Gospel has gone home to the Lord.
Born in Chicago on August 29, 1929, Albertina Walker began singing at the West Point Missionary Baptist Church at an early age, and joined several Gospel groups, beginning with The Pete Williams Singers, who came directly out of West Point Baptist Church.
Walker then moved on to join other groups, including The Robert Anderson Singers. Walker’s anchoring contralto proved to be a force to be reckoned with for decades to come, at once warm and inviting on solo forays, and with a resilience hard to match in a group setting.
In the 1950’s, Walker founded The Caravans, bringing with her fellow vocalists from The Robert Anderson Singers (Ora Lee Hopkins, Elyse Yancey and Nellie Grace Daniels). The group soon became one of the most popular and esteemed Gospel groups of the time, and a fluctuating membership brought in now-famous names such as James Cleveland, Bessie Griffin, Shirley Caesar, Dorothy Norwood, Inez Andrews, Loleatta Holloway and Cassietta George, The Caravans continued into the mid 1960’s, setting the standard for high profile Gospel.