May 13, 1909, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

April 14, 1977.

New Gray Cemetery, Knoxville, Tennessee.


Derricks was educated at the Cadek Conservatory of Music in Chattanooga; Tennessee A&I State University; and American Baptist Theological Seminary, Nashville, Tennessee. At age 21, he directed a Gospel choir of over 100 voices at the Vermont Avenue Baptist Church, Washington, DC. He pastored churches in Dayton, Knoxville and Jackson, Tennessee; Beloit, Wisconsin; and Washington, DC. He wrote over 300 songs and several song books, and was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2001. He is sometimes confused with his actor son, who is also named Cleavant Derricks. His works include:

  1. I Want the Light From the Lighthouse to Shine on Me
  2. Just a Little Talk with Jesus
  3. We’ll Soon Be Done with Troubles and Trials
  4. When God Dipped His Love in My Heart
  5. When He Blessed My Soul

Derricks’ place of death