Thousands of fans mobbed the street today (December 18, 1964) in Chicago, Illinois where a funeral for Sam Cooke was held.
Sam Cooke’s body had been on display for the past three days in Los Angeles, where the popular artist was shot and killed on December 11th.
Today mourner packed the Tabernacle Baptist Church where the singer’s funeral was held.
The crowds were so great, that Sam Cooke’s wife and two daughters had to be lifted over the mob, in order to get inside of the Tabernacle Baptist Church, while Sam’s brothers Charles and L.C. were turned away at first, by policeman who lined the street.
Stars like Smokey Robinson, Major Lance, Marv Johnson, Dee Clark, comedian Dick Gregory, Cassius Clay and Philadelphia DJ Georgie Woods were in attendance.
Cooke was displayed in an open casket fitted with plastic case, so his fans could get one last glimpse at the soul icon who was born in January 22, 1931.
The Reverend Clay Evans of Tabernacle Baptist Church addressed the crowd, which swelled to over 2,000.
“We must strive in the midst of our grief to build a world where men will not need to perish in the prime of their lives with their mature songs still unsung,” Rev. Evans said.
Sam Cooke’s remains were returned to Los Angeles the next day, where a second funeral was held at Mount Sinai Baptist Church, which featured a tribute from Ray Charles.