Hear the legendary Mahalia Jackson with Studs Terkel, Friday at 10:00 PM
Little “Halie” Jackson was a singer for as long as she could remember, but some folks at church didn’t think so. In fact, they were troubled by the liberties she took with the good old hymns. When her mother died, the care of 5-year-old Halie and her brother, Peter, went to extended family. There were thirteen of them living in a three-room home on Pitt Street in New Orleans. When she was 16, the family decided Chicago was a better place for young Mahalia. At her first Sunday service in Chicago, she sang a solo and was immediately recruited for the Greater Salem Baptist Church Choir. The Johnson Gospel Singers spotted her next; she began touring across the city with them. In 1929, at the age of 18, she began working with “The Father of Black Gospel Music,” Thomas A. Dorsey.
In 1950, Mahalia Jackson became the first gospel singer to perform at Carnegie Hall. Two years later, she sat down with Studs Terkel to reflect on her life. Hear that conversation on The Best of Studs Terkel, Friday at 10:00 PM.