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Story of "Precious Lord, Take My Hand"

    Thomas A. Dorsey was a jazz and blues musician, whose wife had just died in childbirth, and their newborn son along with her.  In his grief, he cried out to his Lord to lead him "through the storm, through the night."  Dorsey wrote a song, "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," that's continued to reach out to those who are suffering – in New Orleans' famed jazz and blues community, and everywhere else.
    Thomas Dorsey grew up in Georgia, the son of a preacher.  He began to experience success as a composer and performer, and for a while he drifted away from God – but then, several close brushes with death brought him back.  He began writing gospel songs and singing in church services.  It was during a revival meeting in St. Louis that he received a telegram advising him of the death of his wife and son.  "God, you aren't worth a dime to me right now!" Dorsey cried out, in despair.
    A few weeks later, he was able to make a different response.  Sitting down at the piano, he played a familiar tune and the words of a new song came to him.  The following Sunday, the choir of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in South Chicago sang it, with Dorsey himself at the piano.
    Years later, he described what went through his mind:
    "After putting my wife and baby away in the same casket, I began to feel that God had done me an injustice.  I didn't want to serve him anymore or write any more gospel songs.  I wanted to return back to the jazz world that I once knew so well before.  Then a voice spoke to me and said: ‘You are not alone.' Everyone was so kind to me in these sad hours.  The next week I went up to... Poro College, which had a beautiful and comfortable music room – well equipped, and a good piano. There in my solitude, I began to browse over the keys like a gentle herd pasturing on tender turf.  Something happened to me there.  I had a strange feeling inside.  A sudden calm, a quiet stillness.  As my fingers began to manipulate over the keys, words began to fall in place on the melody like drops of water falling from the crevice of a rock."