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Mahalia Jackson born in New Orleans on October 26, 1911 and died January 27, 1972. She was an American gospel singer, possessing a powerful contralto voice. She was referred to as "The Queen of Gospel” and became one of the most influential gospel singers in the world. She was heralded internationally as a singer and civil rights activist. She was described by entertainer Harry Belafonte as "the single most powerful black woman in the United States". She grew up in a 3 room house on Pitt Street with 13 family members. Mahalia was 4-5 years old when her mother Charity died at 25. Her Aunt Duke assumed responsibility for the children and they were forced to work from sun-up to sun-down. Jackson began her singing career at the local Mount Moriah Baptist Church. Jackson played an important role during the civil rights movement. Jackson appeared often with Dr. Martin Luther King, singing before his speeches. At the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, Jackson sang before King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Toward the end of the speech, he departed from his prepared text for a partly improvised "I have a dream", prompted by Jackson's cry: "Tell them about the dream, Martin!". In December 2008, she was inducted into The Louisiana Music Hall of Fame. Her prominent namesake in New Orleans is the Mahalia Jackson Theater of Performing Arts.
“The Gospel According to New Orleans” my collection of iconic New Orleans musicians commemorates their role in the evolution of the eccentric culture and music traditions of New Orleans. All depicted in this series are musical and cultural icons who make or live on through their significant contributions to the uniqueness of what composes the spirit of New Orleans.
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