Guide to the Church of God Audio Tape Collection
Digitized Content

Summary
Collection ID:
SC.0036
Creators:
Church of God
Lightfoot Solomon Michaux, Elder
Dates:
1950 to 1970
Languages:
All recordings are in English.
Physical Description:
140 Sound recordings
Repository:
The Church of God Audio Tape Collection consists of 140 audio recordings of radio broadcasts and church services from approximately 1950 to 1970. The Church of God is based in Washington DC and its founder Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux was an early innovator in radio evangelism, from which many of the recordings in the collection are drawn. Other recordings feature services and events at the various branches of the Gospel Spreading Church of God in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection contains 141 digitized 1/4" open reel audio tapes originally recorded in the 1950s and 1960s. The recordings consist of radio broadcasts and services from the various branches of the Church of God. The sermons are largely given by the church's founder, Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux, who also hosts the radio broadcasts. Choral gospel music is prominently featured throughout the recordings. The subjects of the sermons given by Elder Michaux and guest preachers cover a wide variety of topics related to biblical interpretation, liturgy, and contemporary events.

Arrangement
Arrangement
The collection is arranged at the item-level with each record corresponding to an individual audio recording. The original 1/4 inch open reel audio tapes were not organized according to any established system that can be reflected in the finding aid, as such the records are ordered based upon their orignal inventory number.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
Elder Lightfoot Solomon Michaux was born on November 7, 1884, to John and May Blanche Michaux in Newport News, Virginia. He worked in the family seafood business and expanded it through government contracts to supply food during World War I. At the conclusion of the war, he began to preach, first establishing a mission in
Hopewell, VA, near Fort Lee before returning to Newport News with his wife. They founded the Church of God in 1919 and held services in a tent before purchasing a building at the corner of 18th and Jefferson Streets for the newly-incorporated Gospel Spreading Tabernacle Building Association in 1921.
Over the next several years, Elder Michaux became a pioneer evangelist, using new technologies to spread the gospel. He continued to hold tent meetings in Newport News and Hampton, and introduced radio broadcasts, first in Newport News over a portable station in the 1920s and from a bus in Alexandria, Virginia in 1929. He created the Radio Church of God as a worldwide ministry to enable domestic and international audiences to hear the Gospel while still in their homes. By then he had become known as "The Happy Am I Preacher," so named after his chosen theme song. Eventually, Michaux began televising his services on the DuMont Television Network, becoming the first African American television evangelist.
In addition to his radio and television evangelism, Elder Michaux founded the "Good Neighbor League" in Washington DC as a social welfare service to the community, providing housing to renters who had been evicted, and eventually purchasing and running a restaurant known as the "Happy News Café" feeding patrons who could not otherwise afford meals at a low-cost. His presence in the nation's capital also made possible the development of a 594-unit housing complex, Mayfair Mansions, designed by African American architect Albert Cassell, funded by a loan from the Reconstruction Finance Corporation, and completed in 1946.

Administration
Processing Information
Collection processed by Leah Jones, AJ Lawrence, and Blake McDowell. Described by AJ Lawrence. Digitized by Preserve South. The collection was processed, digitized, and described as part of the Professional Curation Program of The Center for the Digitization and Curation of African American History at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Author
AJ Lawrence
Immediate Source of Acquisition
NMAAHC retains digital copies of the recordings. The original analog audio tapes are retained by the Church of God.

Bibliography
Bibliography
Webb, Lillian A. (1981) About My Father's Business: The Life of Elder Michaux. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.

Using the Collection
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is available online for open research.
Preferred Citation
Collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Supported by the Center for the Digitization and Curation of African American History.
Conditions Governing Use
Copyright for the recordings is held by the Church of God.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
African Americans Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Christianity Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Radio programs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Gospel music Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
District of Columbia Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
National Museum of African American History and Culture
Washington, D.C. 20004
NMAAHC-ArchivalCollection@si.edu
https://nmaahc.si.edu