1998 32¢ Mahalia Jackson
Legends of American Music Series
Issue Date: July 15, 1998
City: New Orleans, LA
Printed By: American Packaging Corp. for Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: 10.1 x 10.3
Four of the most influential early gospel artists were honored on a se-tenant - the twelfth issue in the Legends of American Music Series. Mahalia Jackson, Roberta Martin, Clara Ward, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe all performed this spiritual music with reverence and love. The emotion with which they sang helped bring this important genre of music greater respect.
The best-known gospel singer in the world was Mahalia Jackson (1911-1972). She received more acclaim than any other gospel singer, and is said to have been the vocal, physical, and spiritual symbol of religious music.
The daughter of devout Baptists, Mahalia was born in New Orleans. Her father was a minister, and at five years of age, she was singing in the church choir. She quit school in the eighth grade and in the late 1920s moved to Chicago. There she supported herself as a maid and laundress. Later, she operated a beauty salon and florist shop. Mahalia cut her first record in 1937 and in 1946 signed a contract to record for Apollo Records in New York City. Her third album released by Apollo, “Move On Up a Little Higher,” sold over one million copies. She performed for audiences all over the country, including traveling with Tommy Dorsey from 1939 to 1944.
During the 1960s, Mahalia became associated with politics and the civil rights movement. She performed at the 1961 inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, and was a friend and supporter of Martin Luther King, Jr. He loved her music, and she was devoted to him. She sang at his funeral in 1968.