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Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Mahalia Jackson

One day in 1946, a Decca record company representative overheard Mahalia Jackson singing and asked her to make a recording. “Move On Up a Little Higher” was the result. The single went platinum and Jackson was thrust into the national spotlight and became an internationally famous Gospel singer.

Suddenly famous, Jackson bought an automobile large enough to sleep in so that she would have a place to spend the night when she performed in segregated areas where motels refused rooms to blacks. She also carried her own food with her so that she would not have to patronize segregated restaurants.

Jackson's remarkable singing eventually attracted white audiences. Her popularity spread nationally and internationally. One of Jackson's most famous concerts took place in Israel, where she performed for an audience of Christians, Jews, and Muslims.

Jackson in the Concertgebouw (1961)

Mahalia Jackson sung the gospel tune "Take My Hand, Precious Lord" at the funeral of Martin Luther King Junior in 1968.

Mahalia Jackson died in Chicago on January 27, 1972, at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, Illinois, of heart failure and diabetes complications.

Her funeral was held at Chicago's Great Salem Baptist Church on January 31, 1972. Over 40,000 mourners attended the open-casket service, which featured a closing version of "Precious Lord, Take My Hand" by Aretha Franklin. The mourners included Coretta Scott King, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Sammy Davis, Jr.

Source Compton's Interactive Encyclopedia © 1998 The Learning Company, Inc.

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