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Mahalia Jackson: Serious About Securing The Bag!!

Black History: Special Delivery!!

Quote: “If you want me to sing this Christmas song with the feeling and the meaning, you better see if you can locate that check.”
-Mahalia Jackson

Mahaila Jackson (1927-1971) is celebrated as one of the greatest gospel singers of all time. She is referred to as “The Queen Of Gospel”. As a child she shared a small “shot gun” house with 13 people. Raised by an aunt after the death of her mother, Jackson quit school in 4th grade to help out at home. Her amazing vocal skills were evident even when she was a young child. She moved to Chicago at age 16 looking for better opportunities. Instead she found only low income domestic work. While in Chicago she joined Greater Salem Baptist Church and began touring with the Johnson Brothers as a “fish and bread” singer (singing for donations). She would later sell 10 cent tickets for her performances and also found work singing at funerals and revivals. She promised to live a pure life and not use her vocal skills for secular entertainment….a promise she kept.

She made her first recording in 1937, “God’s Gonna Separate The Wheat From The Tares”. She would later partner with Thomas Dorsey, a gifted African American composer. Together they issued ushered in the golden age of gospel. In 1954 she launched her own radio show, “The Mahalia Jackson Hour”. It was the first all gospel radio hour. When she wanted to move into TV, executives declined feeling that a “negro” would not be well received in southern markets. Her radio show was canceled after 5 months because it failed to secure a national sponsor.
By 1960 she was an international singing sensation. Her financial success resulted in a racist backlash. She received threats from whites who didn’t want a black woman living in their community. Her own challenges with racism fueled her participation in the Civil Rights Movement. She lended her voice and finances to the movement. She soon became friends with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Her final performance took place I’m 1971 in Germany. She died at 60 of heart failure in 1972 after a surgery on her abdomen.

Sources:

http://www.mahaliajackson.us/biography/1969.php

http://www.britanica.com/biography/Mahalia-Jackson

Moneta Sleet, Jr.: 1st African American To Win Pulitzer Prize For Journalism

Black History:  Special Delivery!!

 

Moneta Sleet, Jr. (1926 – 1996) captured the images and experiences of the civil rights movement and the struggle for equality in the U.S. and Africa. Sleet is perhaps best known for his award winning photo taken at the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. of Coretta Scott King her daughter Bernice who was 5 years old at the time. He received the Pulitzer Prize in journalism for the photo.  He was the first African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize for journalism.  Sleet first began photographing the civil rights movement when he traveled to Montgomery, AL in 1955 to cover the Montgomery Bus Boycott lead by Martin Luther King, Jr. As fate would have it, Sleet would cover both the “birth” of the civil rights movement, as well as the funeral of its leader, and everything in-between. Sleet was also known for his coverage of various independence ceremonies and celebrations in Africa.
Continue reading “Moneta Sleet, Jr.: 1st African American To Win Pulitzer Prize For Journalism”

Poor People’s Campaign of 1968

 Black History:  Special Delivery!!

poor_peoples_campaign_flyer_full

Dr. Martin Luther, King Jr. shared the idea of the “Poor Peoples Campaign” at a Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) staff retreat in 1967.  The campaign was to be a “middle ground” between violence and non-violence.  The campaign would be launched with an initial group of 2,000 people who would travel to Washington DC, southern states, and northern states to advocate with government officials for jobs, unemployment insurance, a fair minimum wage and education for the poor.
Continue reading “Poor People’s Campaign of 1968”

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