By George E. Hardin
A street performer, Connie Rosemond, was singing a religious song outside a Beale Street store when several men passing by asked him to sing a blues song. Rosemond refused even after the men offered him money. Lucie E. Campbell witnessed the incident and asked Rosemond why he refused. He told her there was “something within” that would not allow him to sing the blues. From that incident, Campbell was inspired to write the beloved gospel tune “Something Within,” the first of the more than 100 songs she would eventually write. Campbell selected Rosemond to introduce the song in 1919 at the National Baptist Convention and it became a staple of many Black churches:
The best known of her students was J. Robert Bradley. Bradley met Campbell when he and other children were waiting outside Ellis Auditorium for Christmas presents from the Goodfellows, a charitable organization. Bradley joined in the singing of Christmas carols and a police officer, captivated by his voice, went inside where the National Baptist Convention was meeting and brought Campbell out to hear him. Campbell was impressed and became his mentor.