Mahalia Jackson: The “Soundtrack” of the Civil Rights Movement

One writer has said: “The voice of Mahalia Jackson became “the soundtrack of the Civil Rights Movement!” And the African American spiritual, "There is a Balm in Gilead," from Jeremiah 8:22, was a popular hymn and favorite of Martin Luther King Jr. It was Mahalia Jackson’s voice that traveled with King to the Freedom March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. And it was her voice singing, “How I Got Over,” that was such an inspiration just before King’s “I Have a Dream" speech in the 1963 March on Washington. Mahalia Jackson died January 27, 1972—a woman who sang words of the Bible to the world.

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