Mahalia Jackson 1911-1972
Born and raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, Mahalia was always surrounded by the sounds of the Blues and Mardi Gras. As a child, she sang jazz songs by Bessie Smith in her room at night. But little Halie, as she was called, came from a religious family, and the only music that was acceptable to them was gospel music. She made her singing debut in the choir at the Mount Moriah Baptist Church and blew everyone away with her enormous voice. Later in life she felt the urge to sing non religious music, but she made a promise to herself and her family to sing only gospel, and she stuck to it her whole life. She turned down big night club shows and lived on very little money. But in 1946 she recorded a single- "Move on up a little higher" - that sold over two million copies. She gained a following around the United States and traveled for performances. Her shows drew large crowds from both the black and white communities. Segregation, however, was still the law of the land, and Mahalia struggled with it during and after her performances. When she was on the road, Mahalia kept food in her car, just so she wouldn't be regulated to the "colored" section of a restaurant. At the request of Doctor Martin Luther King Jr, Mahalia participated in the Montgomery Bus Boycott and in 1963 she performed at the March on Washington for jobs and freedom, where Reverend King gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. She was on the podium behind him, when he started to go off-script she encouraged him. "Tell 'em Martin" she shouted "tell 'em about the dream!" The most famous part of his speech wasn't planned, but Mahalia knew how powerful his words were, and how important it would be to share them.
#blackgirlsrock #blackhistory #blackhistorymonth #blackexcellence #blackpower #melanin #blackgirlmagic #blackandproud #blackculture #blackwoman #history #africanamerican #blackunity #blacklivesmatter - 1 hour ago