Mahalia Jackson

By Lee Hildebrand

 

Mahalia Jackson is the most celebrated and successful of all African American gospel singers. In her lifetime, she sang for presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy and for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who counted her as his favorite vocalist. She performed at Carnegie Hall and on other concert stages throughout the United States and Europe, yet she remained a heroine to the regular church folk who had first embraced her. And while the blues of Bessie Smith were reflected in Jackson’s booming contralto tones, melismatic moans, chilling sustains, and rhythmic flow, Jackson... Read More

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