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GospelMagnet Rewind: Mahalia Jackson

Mahalia Jackson, photographed by Carl Van Vechten in 1962.

Let me first say..I think that those who made/make contributions to the African-American culture should be honored all year around..but I admit I love..love..love seeing all the events and ceremonies honoring people in February!! I want to take time to pay homage to one of Gospel’s Greats…Ms. Mahalia Jackson!!!

Mahalia Jackson (October 26, 1911 – January 27, 1972) was an African-American gospel singer. Nicknamed “Halie”, Jackson grew up in the Black Pearl section of the Carrollton neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans, Louisiana. Mahalia was the third child to John A. Jackson, a barber and preacher, and Charity Clark, who died at the age of 25 when Mahalia was only five years old. Mahalia’s story is one of great triumph, she overcame many obstacles and grew up to be referred to as The First Queen of Gospel.

In 1950 she became the first gospel singer to perform at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

She started touring Europe in 1952 and began her journey into becoming one of the best known gospel artist to date. At the March on Washington in 1963, she sang in front of 250,000 people “I’ve Been ‘Buked, and I’ve Been Scorned”. King said, “A voice like hers comes along once in a millennium.” She also sang “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” at his funeral after he was assassinated. In her life she served as friend and mentor to many other great artist, such as Aretha Franklin, Della Reese, and Albertina Walker. She was the first gospel music artist to win a Grammy Award. Gospel Magnet remembers…Mahalia Jackson!!!

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