In 1965, Harry Belafonte said that Mahalia Jackson was “the single most powerful Black woman in the United States.” She could channel God’s power, transform a room, soften the hardest hearts, move the masses, and light fire to the faithful. That’s power.
We are the #daughtersof Mahalia Jackson
…and her voice rang louder than bullets and billy clubs. Crystal clear. Equal parts lullaby and lightsaber. Mahalia Jackson was our moral high ground – a spiritual portal. A “beam me up” before Star Trek had a name. She mastered the ability to take us to a Rock that was higher. She rode a praise – in primordial tongues – through halls of injustice, and confused our cross-burning enemies. Singing “I’m gonna lay down my burden, down by the riverside.” Singing, “I ain’t a-gonna study war no more.” Singing, “Soon it will be done. Trouble of the world.” Singing “Elijah Rock, shout, shout, shout. Elijah Rock comin’ up, Lord.” Singing, “How I made it over,” and “You must be born again.” Bearing the very souls of Black folks. Teaching us. Healing us. Actual pain medicine. Soothing the saints and the sinners alike. Reminding us all of our divine connection and of a transformational power that is bigger than fear.
“I think fear is a sin,” she said. “And I can’t live in fear.”
If you are wavering today. Walk with us. If the evidence of your life – your job, your health, your mind, your money, your man – is overwhelming your faith, walk with us. Listen to the clarion voice that mobilized our mothers and resolved our father’s fears. Black people have practices. We have methods, potions, and powers that connect us to Light in the darkest of times. We need those now. Keep the faith. Grab your sneakers. And come sing with us…
Today, we walk in total agreement – as our foremothers walked before us in the Montgomery Bus Boycotts – for the total liberation of Black people everywhere.
Join GirlTrek’s Black History Bootcamp – 21 Cosmonauts at blackhistorybootcamp.com to receive specially curated emails with survival tips, speeches + dedicated songs to listen to for each episode. Together we will discover the stories of 21 women who were ahead of their time.
Disclaimer: We do not own the rights to the music or speech excerpts played during this broadcast. Original content can be found here: