Sister Rosetta Tharpe Is The Black Woman Who Invented Rock & Roll

By Amanda Monroe
Published February 7, 2020

The fact of the matter is the king of modern rock is actually a sister: Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

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Born Rosetta Nubin in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, in 1915, her mother was a Gospel singer and mandolin player.

she started playing the guitar at only four and at six began joining her mother on stage.

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Anyone who’s ever been to Black church knows that it’s not quiet.

Tharpe had to develop a way for her guitar to be heard over the rambunctious singing and preaching.

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Tharpe created a unique style of fingerpicking that became perfectly suited for the electric guitar.

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With that, Tharpe laid the foundation for modern rock and roll as we know it.

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It's worth noting that she was the first person to put a 14-year-old Little Richard on stage.

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Tharpe passed away in 1973 and was buried in an unmarked grave until 2009.

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In '92 Johnny Cash was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and didn't mince words about Tharpe.

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Tharpe, the inspiration, wouldn't be inducted into the Hall of Fame until 27 years later, in 2019.

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Tharpe's recognition arrived slower than it should have, but her contribution to world culture is forever growing.

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