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Black Music Month (BMM) Mahalia Jackson

Crowned “The Queen of Gospel,” Mahalia Jackson is synonymous with inspirational music. From her early beginnings in New Orleans to her adolescence in Chicago, her faith was always paramount in her life. Throughout her career, despite being asked repeatedly, she refused to sing secular music.

“Blues are the songs of despair, but gospel songs are the songs of hope.”

Jackson experienced a tremendous amount of crossover success and was lauded as an international star. She performed on the famed Ed Sullivan Show and at the Newport Jazz Festival.

3rd Annual First Ladies Tea

A trailblazer of the gospel landscape, Jackson became the first gospel artist to perform at Carnegie Hall. A year later, in 1961, she sang at John F. Kennedy’s inaugural ball.

A recognizable figure during the Civil Rights Movement, Jackson was often seen singing at rallies at the request of her friend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. During the March on Washington Jackson performed just before Dr. King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.

After ending her career in 1971, she established the Mahalia Jackson Scholarship Foundation to help underprivileged children attend college.

“How I Got Over”


“Trouble of the World”


“Silent Night”


“Take My Hand, Precious Lord”


“His Eye Is on the Sparrow”


“Oh Happy Day”

Black Music Month: Mahalia Jackson was originally published on

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