Mahalia Jackson was born Mahalia Ann Julia in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 26, 1911. She was one of nine children born to Rev. Joseph and Mahala Jackson. From a young age, Mahalia showed an interest in music and would often sing at her father's church. In her teenage years, she began performing at local clubs and eventually caught the attention of record producers. In 1948, she released her debut album, which garnered critical acclaim and launched her career as one of the most successful gospel singers of all time!
Throughout her career, Mahalia performed for various esteemed venues and events, including President John F. Kennedy's inauguration in 1961 and the March on Washington in 1963 where she famously sang "I've Been 'Buked and I've Been Scorned" before Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech. Mahalia's influence extended beyond music, as she was a civil rights activist and close friend of MLK Jr.
Mahalia passed away on January 27, 1972 at the age of 60, leaving behind a legacy as one of the greatest gospel singers in history and a champion for civil rights. She was posthumously inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1974 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1989. Mahalia's impact continues to be felt through her musical legacy, as well as her dedication to social justice. Her story remains an inspiration for generations to come.