Smithsonian Collections

Mahalia Jackson

Image for Mahalia Jackson
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
Exhibition Label
Singer Mahalia Jackson created a worldwide audience for gospel music with her soul-stirring performances and immensely popular recordings. Although influenced in her youth by blues legend Bessie Smith, Jackson was unwavering in her commitment to gospel, and excluded blues and jazz from her repertoire. Church choirs served as the first showcase for her talent, but her majestic voice soon marked her for a solo career. Touring widely throughout the 1930s, Jackson thrilled audiences as she performed gospel favorites in storefront churches, tent shows, and revival meetings. Her breakthrough came in 1947, when her recording of "Move On Up a Little Higher" sold more than one million copies, confirming her as the "Gospel Queen." A fervent voice for civil rights, Jackson performed numerous benefit concerts in support of the movement and was a favorite of Martin Luther King Jr.
Artist
Roy DeCarava, 9 Dec 1919 - 27 Oct 2009
Sitter
Mahalia Jackson, 26 Oct 1911 - 27 Jan 1972
Date
1960
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Medium
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions
Image/Sheet: 33.9 x 26.7cm (13 3/8 x 10 1/2")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9cm (28 x 22")
Type
Photograph
Topic
Interior
Mahalia Jackson: Female
Mahalia Jackson: Performing Arts\Performer\Musician\Singer
Mahalia Jackson: Society and Social Change\Reformer\Activist\Civil rights activist
Portrait
Restrictions & Rights
© Roy DeCarava
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
Object number
NPG.2006.15
Culture
Mahalia Jackson: American\African American