Dolores Mohawk

Dolores Mohawk: The Life and Times of Sam Cooke’s First Wife

Early Life And Career

Dolores Mohawk, the first wife of the legendary musician Sam Cooke, was born on September 16, 1930, in the United States. While she is often overshadowed by her famous ex-husband, her story is one of intrigue, tragedy, and connection to the world of soul music.

Marriage to Sam Cooke

Dolores Mohawk and Sam Cooke’s paths crossed in a union that would become a part of music history. They were married on October 19, 1953, in a ceremony that marked the beginning of a five-year marriage. Despite the eventual end of their marriage, their connection would leave a lasting impact on both their lives.

Family Life

Despite their divorce in 1958, Sam Cooke remained connected to Dolores Mohawk. Tragically, Dolores Mohawk’s life was cut short at the age of 28 in 1959. She lost her life in an auto collision in Fresno, California, following a night of drinking. This heartbreaking event left a significant mark on Sam Cooke’s life and career.

Surviving Legacy

Dolores Mohawk was survived by her son, Joey, whom she had with Sam Cooke. Despite their separation, Sam Cooke shouldered the responsibility of covering her funeral expenses, a testament to their shared history and his commitment as a father.

Sam Cooke’s Life Beyond Dolores Mohawk

Following his divorce from Dolores Mohawk, Sam Cooke married his second wife, Barbara Campbell, in 1958. Their marriage brought forth three children: Linda, Tracy, and Vincent. However, Sam Cooke’s life was far from free of challenges and tragedies.

The Controversial Death of Sam Cooke

On December 11, 1964, the world was shocked to learn of Sam Cooke’s tragic death. He was fatally shot in the Hacienda Motel in South Central Los Angeles, California, under circumstances that remain disputed to this day. The motel’s manager, Bertha Franklin, claimed to have acted in self-defense, a story that was met with skepticism by Cooke’s acquaintances and the motel’s owner, Evelyn Carr.

A Legacy Unresolved

The death of Sam Cooke remains one of the most controversial and unresolved chapters in his life story. Some, including boxing legend Muhammad Ali, suggested that had Cooke been a different type of artist, the FBI would have investigated his death more thoroughly.

Activism and Legal Troubles

Sam Cooke’s life was marked not only by musical success but also by activism. He and his wife Barbara were arrested for disturbing the peace when attempting to register at a white motel in Shreveport, Louisiana, highlighting the racial tensions of the era.

Family Tragedy

The tragedies in Sam Cooke’s life extended beyond his own experiences. One particularly heart-wrenching event was the drowning of his son Vincent in their swimming pool when the child was just 18 months old. These personal hardships were contrasted with Cooke’s professional success.

The King of Soul

Sam Cooke was often credited with the title of the “King of Soul.” His musical contributions were groundbreaking, as he is considered the inventor of soul music and played a pivotal role in bringing gospel music to popular attention.

Bobby Womack’s Controversial Marriage

The saga of Sam Cooke’s life extended even beyond his death. One of his protégés, Bobby Womack, married Cooke’s widow, Barbara Campbell Cooke, a union that generated intense publicity and added further complexity to the story of Sam Cooke’s legacy.

In conclusion, the life of Dolores Mohawk, Sam Cooke’s first wife, and her connection to the iconic musician, Sam Cooke, is a story that encompasses love, tragedy, and the enduring legacy of a musical legend. While their marriage may have ended, the impact of their union on Sam Cooke’s life and career is undeniable, and their stories continue to be remembered and celebrated in the annals of music history.