Charley Pride was born in Sledge, Mississippi on March 18,1934. His parents were Mack Pride and Tessie B. Stewart. On December 28, 1956, he married Rozene Cohran and they have three children named Dion, Angela, and Kraig. Growing up, Charley Pride listened to country music and the Grand Ole Opry broadcasts with his father. At 14, he purchased his first guitar from the Sear’s and Roebuck catalogue and taught himself how to play listening to songs from the radio. Around 16, Pride began to be recognized as a talented baseball player. After playing with several minor league teams, he had his best season in 1956 playing with the Memphis Red Sox. The Memphis Red Sox were part of the Negro American League. As a pitcher, he earned a position on the Negro American League All-Star Team and played against all-stars Willie Mays and Hank Aaron. He continued to play and sing though even though he was doing well with baseball.
In late 1956, Charley Pride was drafted by the U.S. Military and reported to Fort Chaffee. While there, he met his wife whom he married. Upon being discharged in early 1958, he rejoined the Memphis Red Sox. In 1960, Pride moved to Montana to play for the Missoula Timber jacks in the Pioneer League and worked as a smelter in a mining company. While doing this, he performed in nightclubs and bars around the Helena, Montana area. After failing to make the New York Mets, which were having try outs in Florida, he stopped in Nashville, Tennessee where he drew the attention of several producers. Chet Atkins signed him to RCA Records in1966. Charley Pride quickly became Country Music’s first African American superstar. Between 1967 and 1987, he had over 50 Top-10 Country hits and sold millions of records. In 1971, Pride won two Grammy Awards. Other honors included Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award and Top Male Vocalist awards of 1971 and 1972. In 1993, he was inducted into the Grand Ole Opry. In 2000, Pride was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Charley Pride has performed for presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama in the White House. Today, he calls Dallas, Texas home and continues to perform.
Some of his biggest hits include ‘Mississippi Cotton Pickn’ Delta Town,’ ‘Roll on Mississippi, ‘Mountain of Love,’ and ‘Kiss an Angel Good Morning.”