Gospel music pioneer Ann Yancy was born on October 29, 1930, in Memphis, Tennessee. Yancy was the product of a deeply religious family, which includes uncles the Reverends Morris and Henry Edmonds; her brother Reverend Samuel Jordon; and her cousin Reverend Daniel Edmonds, all of Memphis, Tennessee. Yancy’s vocal talents were recognized at the age of eight while she was singing in the junior choir at Pearly Gate Baptist Church in Memphis, Tennessee, where she later became a member of the Sunshine Band.
Yancy was the fourth of seven children born to Leah Edmonds and Elijah Rhodes of Lucy, Tennessee. Yancy graduated from Manasses Elementary School in Memphis, Tennessee. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1942, where she resided until 1943, when she moved to Gary, Indiana, with her aunt Lassie Blair. Yancy attended Froebel High School and returned to Chicago in 1945.
In 1948, Yancy married Rev. Robert Yancy, Associate Pastor of Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church; she was widowed in 1973. Yancy and her husband had eight children (three became ministers): Reverends Kevin, and Darryl, the late Reverend Marvin J. Yancy, Derrick, Stevie, Sherwin, and Judy Yancy. Reverend Kevin Yancy, was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1980 for producing the Gospel album Rev. Marvin J. Yancy and The Fountain of Life Joy Choir; Reverends Marvin and Kevin Yancy were the writers and producers of the Grammy Award nominated gospel recording, Heavy Load in 1985.
Yancy was an intricate part of the rich tapestry of Chicago Gospel music history; she was one of the lead soloists at Greater Harvest Missionary Baptist Church, and a member of the renowned, Sylvia Boddie Gospel Singers. Yancy traveled throughout the United States with R.L. Knowles, The Robert Anderson Singers, and Willie Webb and the Roberta Martin Singers. Yancy has appeared on recordings with the Robert Anderson Singers, the Roberta Martin Singers, and The Yancy Family Album. Yancy founded The Marvin Yancy Scholarship Foundation, and frequently spoke at Gospel conferences and seminars on the history of Gospel music.
Affectionately known as “Mama Yancy”, Yancy was the grandmother of twenty-three and great-grand mother of nine. Yancy passed away on March 9, 2013.