Inductees Archive

Mahalia Jackson

New Orleans, Louisiana was the birthplace of Mahalia Jackson. She learned to rise above poverty, prejudice and heartache by her iron determination and humor. Her natural singing ability led her to heights of world acclaim. She broke attendance records at Carnegie Hall and all the major concert stages of America. She was a world traveler, singing to audiences moved to tears even when they didn’t understand the lyrics. Each gospel song was a joyous experience as she performed it. Mahalia had but one singing lesson and it was a four dollar mistake. Opera teachers didn’t appreciate a gospel singer. She was deeply respected by such greats as Leonard Bernstein, Martin Luther King, Marian Anderson, Duke Ellington, Harry Belafonte and countless others of all social status. She was chosen to sing at the inaugural celebrations for President Kennedy. Of all her fond wishes, the one dearest to her heart was relized when she walked and performed in Jerusalem. Mahalia Jackson, a warm and inspiring Christian, and her many times recorded voice, are eternal.


Induction Year




New Orleans, LA


Popular Songs

  • “Rusty Old Halo”
  • “Move On Up a Little Higher”


Notable Supporters and Colleagues

  • Martin Luther King Jr.
  • Duke Ellington
  • Thomas A. Dorsey
  • Leonard Bernstein



Mahalia Jackson singing “How I Got Over”


Mahalia Jackson singing “Move On Up A Little Higher”