New Orleans History -- Lake Pontchartrain
Friday, October 20, 2017
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1972 Mahalia Jackson Dies

Mahalia Jackson
October 26, 1911-January 27, 1972
Mahalia Jackson was one of America's greatest gospel singers. She was born in New Orleans on October 26, 1911 to Charity Clark, a laundress and maid, and Johnny Jackson, a Baptist preacher, barber and longshoreman. She attended McDonogh School No. 24 until the eighth grade.

Influenced by the music of the Sanctified Church she began singing at the young age of four in the children's choir of Plymouth Rock Baptist Church.

In 1927, Mahalia migrated to Chicago and while working as a maid, laundress and date packer studied beauty culture at Madam C. J. Walker's and Scott Institute of Beauty Culture. She opened a beauty shop after this training. When the director of the choir at Greater Salem Baptist Church in Chicago heard her sing she became the choir's first soloist. Her beautiful voice made her popular.

During the 1930s, she toured the "storefront church circuit" singing to congregations. Jackson bridged the gap between the sacred and the secular in her performances, often using scriptures to justify her use of hand clapping and stomping while singing.

The next two decades found Mahalia recording songs and touring the United States and Europe. She became closely associated with the civil rights movement during the 1960s often singing at benefits for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the boycotters and student sit-ins.

Jackson died of heart failure at the age of sixty in Chicago. She was honored with funerals in Chicago and New Orleans and is buried in Providence Memorial Park in Metairie.

Source: http://nutrias.org/~nopl/info/aarcinfo/notabl2.htm