¶Mahalia Jackson - Changing the Face of Gospel Music is an article about how and when Mahalia Jackson started singing gospel music. Of all the great gospel musicians of our time, there is perhaps no other single person who has influenced the sound of gospel music more than Mahalia Jackson.
¶She was born in New Orleans around 1911. She was the daughter of a Baptist preacher and a mother who worked as a maid. Sadly, her father was often absent from her life and her mother died at a young age. Her extended family raised her.
¶Mahalia is said to have begun singing as soon as she could walk and talk. Her music career began in the world famous jazz and blues music scene in New Orleans, Louisiana. She grew up during the Great Depression. In response to this depression, Mahalia sang. If it weren''t for the hard times, we may never have heard her powerful voice fill the air waves all over the country. She became well known throughout the country for her unique presentation of gospel music. Her style was alive!
¶ When the freedom movements began among blacks with Martin Luther King, Jr. as their foremost figure, Mahalia Jackson was among them on that warm day at the Lincoln Memorial. Mahalia Jackson sat waiting for her turn to address the crowd in song. At the request of Dr. King, she began to sing. The song touched the hearts of countless thousands of people and the power of her voice and God''s call upon her life were more than enough to motivate Dr. King to raise his voice and sound the alarm for freedom. The Civil Rights Movement marched on in full force.