Zach Mills began the first leg of a multi-city book tour during Memorial Day weekend promoting a biography he has penned on international Gospel recording artist, pastor, preacher and Chicago based civil rights icon Rev. Clay Evans. The biography is entitled, The Last Blues Preacher: Rev. Clay Evans, Black Lives, and the Faith that Woke the Nation. The book details Reverend Evans’ early days growing up in the south and experiencing racism first hand, his family’s migration to Chicago and his early days in ministry. The book pulls on candid and sentimental interviews from many of Reverend Evans siblings and close associates including historical figures like Nation of Islam leader Minister Louis Farrakhan, Fr. Michael Pfleger, former presidential candidate, founder and president of the Rainbow Push Coalition Rev. Jesse Jackson, former Chicago mayor Richard M. Daley, Congressman Bobby Rush, and former Illinois governor Pat Quinn.
“Reverend Clay Evans is an icon, not only in Chicago but all over the world,” noted Michael Evans, Clay Evans Scholarship Foundation Chicago Chairman. “Reverend Evans has touched the lives of so many through his preaching, teaching, pastoring, the radio and television ministry of Fellowship, the numerous recordings and his continuing crusade for a better life for people both young and old. This is a story that needs to be told to our children and their children, and thank God that Zach Mills was raised up to tell this story.
Brad R. Braxton, director of the Center for the Study of African American Religious Life at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. praised The Last Blues Preacher, saying: “The voice of Clay Evans, the legendary Chicago pastor and social activist, reverberates throughout this marvelous book. With a poet’s passion and a professor’s precision, Zach Mills chronicles Evans’s tenacious faith and audacious creativity. This faith enabled Evans to overcome social barriers for the sake of social justice. This creativity empowered Evans to use broadcast media as an electronic pulpit from which he has inspired so many. After reading The Last Blues Preacher, you won’t have the blues anymore. Your soul will sing gospel.”
Chicago pastors celebrate Rev. Evans and his legacy of civil rights. “The Last Blues Preacher reminds us of the impact of a man who used his life and ministry to make a world better,” said Fr. Michael Pfleger, Senior Pastor of The Faith Community of Saint Sabina.
Though Evans retired from pastoral ministry in 2000 scholars emphasize the relevance of his ministry today. “This book not only offers readers a deeper description of the life of a son of the black church but also encourages leaders who desire to transform their communities and broader world,” said Keri Day, Associate Professor at Princeton Theological Seminary.
Mills will make promotional stops in Chicago, Detroit, Atlanta, Dallas, Washington, DC as well as visiting Brownsville, Tennessee the birthplace of Reverend Clay Evans. Additionally, in honor of the book’s release, a deluxe edition of Reverend Clay Evans and the Ship, What a Legacy is now available on all digital outlets. The CD celebrates the music of Reverend Evans and the Fellowship Choir featuring several never before released on CD tracks.