Religion

Evangelists and Evangelism

What well-known evangelist spread his gospel on the radio?

Known as the “Happy Am I Evangelist,” Solomon Lightfoot Michaux (1885–1968) of the Gospel Spreading Church, Washington, D.C., began radio broadcasts in 1929. After the purchase of a local station by the CBS network, he was the first black to have a national and international audience on a regular basis. In 1934 he broadcast on Saturdays on the CBS radio network and internationally on shortwave radio, to reach an estimated audience of twenty-five million people. He preached a mixture of holiness themes and positive thinking, and his church was related to the Church of God, Holiness. By 1941 his radio broadcasts were heard only in a few cities where he had congregations, but the broadcasts continued until his death. Michaux once sold fish on the streets of Newport News, Virginia. A shrewd businessman, he became chief local purveyor of fish to the U.S. Navy during World War I. This brought him a fortune and he used his money to support needy black and white people. The Solomon Lightfoot Michaux Temple was located at the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Nineteenth Street in Newport News. Michaux had large congregations in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., as well.



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