CHICAGO (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The late Sam Cooke will be celebrated with the naming of 36th Street at Cottage Grove Avenue, Chicago, Illinois as Sam Cooke Way on Saturday, June 18.
The ceremony and celebration of Cooke, who grew up in Chicago, is being headed by Gregg Parker, CEO, historian and founder of the Chicago Blues Museum and Record Row Foundation.
The location of Sam Cooke Way is in the midst of Chicago's Bronzeville neighborhood, birthplace to some of Chicago’s most talented artists in music and the associated arts. It is where the Cooke family settled after migrating from Clarksdale, Mississippi in the early 1930’s, initially residing at 3527 Cottage Grove Avenue and later moving to 724 E. 36th Street.
Young Sam Cooke attended the neighborhood's Doolittle Elementary School and, in 1948, was a graduate of Phillips High School.
Chicago Blues Museum CEO Parker noted, "Sam Cooke has long been considered one of the pioneers of, if not the creative force behind, what has come to be known as soul music. Cooke was among the first modern black performers and composers who was a proponent of economic self-determination insofar as he actually came to own his own master recordings and publishing contracts and started his own record company. Additionally, he was an advocate and activist on behalf of civil rights, a fact that is mirrored in his epochal song, ‘A Change Is Gonna Come,’ the lyrics of which were paraphrased by President Barack Obama on the night he won the election."
Cook Country Commissioner Jerry Butler, himself a soul music legend, will proclaim June 18, 2011 as Sam Cooke Day in conjunction with the street naming ceremony.
— Crystal Lynn Huntoon