Mahalia Jackson Is Born

Mahalia Jackson, the "Queen of Gospel Song," was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 26, 1911.

Jackson grew up singing gospel music at the Plymouth Rock Baptist Church where her father preached. At age sixteen, she migrated to Chicago where she supported herself by doing housekeeping and odd jobs.

In Chicago, Jackson joined the Greater Salem Baptist Church and began touring with a gospel quintet. The beauty of her contralto voice and the increasing popularity of gospel music during the Depression brought Jackson success. She made her first recordings as a soloist in the mid-1930s for Decca and Apollo, eventually signing with Columbia records in 1954.

Mahalia Jackson (October 26, 1911[1] – January 27, 1972) was an African-American gospel singer, widely regarded as the best in the history of the genre, and is the first "Queen of Gospel Music". With her powerful, distinct voice, Mahalia Jackson became one of the most influential gospel singers in the world. She recorded about 35 albums (mostly for Columbia Records) during her career, and her 45 rpm records included a dozen "golds"—million-sellers. She had a contralto voice range.