Women in the Performing Arts

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

32-cent Rosetta Tharpe stamp
This stamp featuring a photograph of Sister Rosetta Tharpe was issued July 15, 1998.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915-1973) started her career in gospel music as a result of her upbringing in a very religious family. Tharpe’s mother was very active in their church, the Missionary in Church of God in Christ, and raised Sister Rosetta Tharpe in a strict religious environment. Despite her mother’s protective nature, Tharpe’s career as a singer and guitarist flourished and she eventually achieved national fame. Tharpe helped popularize gospel music by combining traditional gospel music with the sounds of jazz and swing. Her contributions to gospel music have made her one of the most influential gospel singers of the twentieth century.