DATE: May 18, 2001
CONTACT: Calvin Burns, 901/333-5338 or Marilyn
STCC Pays Tribute to WDIA's Ford Nelson
Southwest Tennessee Community College honored
gospel on-air personality Ford Nelson Saturday, April 28, during a
gospel concert at Mount Olive Cathedral Methodist Episcopal Church. The
concert was a fund-raising event for the STCC Department of Nursing. It
featured singers Cynthia Winthrop, Linda Pattman, and Michealyn Oby. The
event was sponsored by The Regional Medical Center at Memphis.
Dr. Shiphrah Williams-Evans serves as Chair and
Professor of the STCC Nursing Department. She said Nelson was honored
for his contributions to gospel music as a veteran announcer for
WDIA-AM-1070. "Mr. Nelson was most deserving of this special
recognition," Dr. Williams-Evans observed. "For more than five
decades, he has been instrumental in providing inspirational music to
the Mid-South and the nation."
Nelson joined radio station WDIA in 1950 as B.B.
King's piano player, and eventually established a long-running career as
a gospel music DEE JAY. During that time, he has been involved in the
careers of a number of well-known gospel recording artists who had
broadcast on his various programs. They include: The Rev. Cleophus
Robinson, Rev. T.L. James, The Southern Wonders, Evangelist Lula
Collins, The Dixie Wonders and The Masonic Travelers.
In addition to his gospel music host role at the
historic WDIA, Nelson also performed the duties of news reporter. He
also worked as a reporter for The Tri-State Defender Newspaper,
and as an announcer for the Memphis Public Library's radio station, WYPL.
Nelson, a native Memphian, is a product of the
Memphis City Schools system. He is a graduate of Manassas High School
and of LeMoyne College in Memphis. He is a U.S. Army veteran of World
War II, and the devoted father of three children.
The highly-respected on-air personality has served
on many local boards and commissions, and has received numerous awards
and certificates. His honors include the prestigious Living Legend
Award from the National Black Programmers Coalition.
Nelson is a member of Columbus Baptist Church in
Memphis, where Rev. John J. Campbell serves as pastor. He has the
distinction of serving as the first director of Multi-Media Ministry at
Columbus. After more than 50 years, Brother Ford Nelson still hosts a
gospel music program on Sundays at WDIA.