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Chicago Voices Talk | Gospel: Mahalia Jackson and the Civil Rights Movement

Mahalia Jackson, n.d. CHM, ICHi-34969

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday by remembering the “Queen of Gospel,” Mahalia Jackson. Join us for a conversation of how Jackson became one of gospel music’s all-time greats with her rich, powerful voice, and how her influence and music contributed to the civil rights movement.

Enjoy live gospel performances from members of the renowned Trinity United Church of Christ choir. Panelists include Robert Marovich, author of A City Called Heaven: Chicago and the Birth of Gospel Music; Joy L. Bivins, CHM director of Curatorial Affairs; and Johari Jabir, associate professor of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Prior to the discussion, take in a display of rarely seen civil rights artifacts from the Museum’s collection, such as Mahalia Jackson’s choir robe and a signed letter addressed to Jackson from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Chicago Voices explores Chicago’s rich vocal history and its contributions to gospel, classical, and hip-hop music. Ayana Contreras, WBEZ contributor and host of Vocalo’s Reclaimed Soul, moderates a panel series that features music experts and dynamic live performances. Each event includes a panel discussion, performance interludes by Chicago artists, and a Q&A session.

Additional price: $5 students. Attend all three panels for $25! Discount will be applied automatically at checkout when all three event tickets have been selected.


4:00 p.m.
Object viewing, Guild Gallery
Mahalia Jackson’s choir robe, a letter addressed to Jackson from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and other rarely seen civil rights–related artifacts from the Museum’s collection will be on view from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.

4:45 p.m.
Doors to Robert R. McCormick Theater open

5:00 p.m.
Chicago Voices TALK Gospel begins
Tonight’s program features a lively discussion punctuated by performances of “This Little Light of Mine,” “Move On Up a Little Higher,” “I’ve Been ’Buked,” “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around,” “Oh, Freedom!,” “Oh Happy Day,” and “She’s Got the Whole World in Her Hands.”

Chicago Voices TALK is made possible by support from J. Thomas Hurvis, Parent Power Chicago, and Bank of America. The series is part of the Lyric’s Chicago Voices, a groundbreaking multiyear initiative celebrating the city’s vibrant, diverse vocal music culture.


The Details



15 th

5:00 p.m.



$ 10

$5 Members

Event Location

Chicago History Museum

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