Veteran gospel singer and mother of legendary singer Whitney Houston, Cissy Houston, was born on this day, Sept. 30, in 1933, in Newark, New Jersey. She began her singing journey at a young age, when her father encouraged her to sing in church.
In 1938, Houston joined her sister Anne and her brothers in forming a gospel singing group. She later created the group Sweet Inspirations, who sang back up with the Jimi Hendrix Experience. She married John Russell Houston Jr. in 1959.
In 1969, Houston signed a solo record deal with Commonwealth United Records. She recorded 12 solo albums over the span of her career. She also sang backup for Elvis Presley and Aretha Franklin. In 1996 and 1998, Houston received a Grammy for her albums Face to Face and He Leadeth Me, respectively.
For over 50 years, Houston directed the Youth Inspirational Choir at the New Hope Baptist Church in Newark, New Jersey.