On this day in 1911, Mahalia Jackson was born in New Orleans


Mahalia Jackson, 59, sings an African-American spiritual at the imperial palace April 23, 1971 before the royal family to celebrate Emporor Hirohito's 70th birthday on April 29, 1971. Miss Jackson, visiting Tokyo for the first time, was the first American singer ever to sing at such an Imperial birthday party in the palace. (AP Photo)
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Mahalia Jackson was born on October 26, 1911, in New Orleans. Jackson’s mother died when she was just four and she had to leave school in the fourth grade to help out at home. She had music though and sang at church.

Louis Armstrong gets a hug and a pat on the shoulder from Mahalia Jackson at the Newport Jazz Festival, “A Tribute to Louis Armstrong” on July 11, 1970. The audience rose in an ovation as the 70-year-old “Satchmo” strode on stage to croak out some of the songs he made famous. It was their first appearance in 15 years to a Newport Jazz Festival. (AP Photo)

In the late 1920s, Jackson moved to Chicago, where she sang and performed with church choirs and began recording in the 1930s. Her first big hit was “Move Up a Little Higher” in 1947, which sold a million copies and led to radio and television appearances, a tour in Europe, and a gospel music show on CBS.

Mahalia Jackson sings an impromptu “Just a Closer Walk with Thee” to the beat of the Eureka Brass Band at the New Orleans Jazz Festival on April 23, 1970. Jackson, who is from New Orleans, will perform in concert at the festival that features jazz, blues, gospel and folk music. (AP Photo)

Jackson also lent her powerful voice to the civil rights movement. The Queen of Gospel sang at Selma, Alabama, the March on Washington, and at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Mahalia Jackson passed away in 1972 at 60 years old.

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