Sam Cooke

photo of Sam Cooke published c. 1966, Billboard page 21, RCA Victor Records

Birth Name: Samuel Cooke

Date of Birth: January 22, 1931

Place of Birth: Clarksdale, Mississippi, U.S.

Date of Death: December 11, 1964

Place of Death: Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Ethnicity: African-American

Sam Cooke was an American singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur. He was also known as Dale Cook, and nicknamed “King of Soul.”

Sam was the son of Annie Mae and The Rev. Charles Cook, a minister in the Church of Christ (Holiness). His brother, L.C., was a member of the doo-wop band Johnny Keyes and the Magnificents. His family moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1933. Sam added an “e” to his surname in 1957.

Sam was married to Barbara Campbell, until his death. He had six children, three of them with Barbara, including singer and songwriter Linda Womack. Linda’s stepfather was singer and songwriter Bobby Womack, and Linda married Bobby’s brother, musician Cecil Womack. Linda and Cecil were singer and songwriter partners known as Womack & Womack.

Sam’s mother was the adoptive daughter of Edward U. Carroll and May Lewis (the daughter of Eugenia Payne). Edward was born in North Carolina. May was born in Mississippi.

Source: Genealogy of Sam Cooke (focusing on his mother’s side) –


Curious about ethnicity

4 Responses

  1. transemacabre says:

    Edward and May Carroll were Annie Mae’s adoptive parents. You can see the 1920 census for proof, where she’s listed as their adopted daughter. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Operations, Inc., 2010. Images reproduced by FamilySearch.

  2. Jeri says:

    He was a gorgeous man!

  3. Fuzzybear says:

    My Grandma played this guy forever

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