Last Updated: May 22, 2024
Richest CelebritiesSingers
Net Worth:
$24 Million
Oct 26, 1911 - Jan 27, 1972 (60 years old)
New Orleans
Singer, Musician, Actor
United States of America
💰 Compare Mahalia Jackson's Net Worth

What was Mahalia Jackson's Net Worth?

Mahalia Jackson was an American gospel singer who had a net worth equal to $24 million at the time of her death after adjusting for inflation. The value of her estate was $4 million at the time she died in 1972. Mahalia Jackson was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in October 1911 and passed away in January 1972. She was known as "The Queen of Gospel." She was also a civil rights activist. Jackson recorded 30 albums for Columbia Records, starting with her 1952 debut album "You'll Never Walk Alone" and ending with her final album, 1969's "What the World Needs Now." Harry Belafonte called Mahalia Jackson "the single most powerful black woman in the United States." Jackson had a dozen gold records that sold a million copies each. She won Grammy Awards for Best Gospel or Other Religious Recording for "Every Time I Feel the Spirit" and "Great Songs of Love and Faith". She also won the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and Best Soul Gospel Performance with "How I Got Over". She is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Gospel Music Hall of Fame, and had a stamp issued in her honor. Mahalia Jackson passed away on January 27, 1972, at 60 years old, of heart failure and diabetes complications.

Early Life

Jackson was born on October 26, 1911, in New Orleans, Louisiana, to parents Charity Clark and Johnny Jackson. Her parents were never married, and her father did not live with the family. Both sets of Jackson's parents were born into slavery in Louisiana. She grew up in a small house on Water Street in New Orleans' Sixteenth Ward. When she was born, she was the 13th person living in the household, which was shared with her mother's sisters, siblings, and cousins. The family was devout Baptists and attended Plymouth Rock Baptist Church. As members of the church, they were expected to follow a code of conduct that did not allow jazz music, card games, or drinking. Dancing was only allowed in church when one was moved by the Holy Spirit, and singing within the congregation was encouraged. Jackson joined the children's choir at the age of four.

At the age of five, Jackson's mother died. She continued living with one of her aunts, who was very strict. She spent much of her time at church to escape from her aunt and also rarely attended school as there were generally more pressing tasks for her to complete at home. By the age of 10, she had dropped out. Her aunt became progressively more abusive towards Jackson until Jackson finally had enough and was able to move to Chicago to live with other family members.



After arriving in Chicago, Jackson joined the local church choir. She also worked as a laundress. She began singing in various churches around Chicago, gaining a reputation for her powerful voice. In 1937, she met Mayo "Ink" Williams, a music producer who arranged a session with Decca Records. She subsequently recorded four singles, all of which were Gospel, though the label pleaded with her to sing blues or jazz. The singles did not achieve popularity but were distributed to a few radio stations. Jackson continued singing and started booking more and more performances that were far from Chicago.

In 1946, she appeared at the Golden Gate Ballroom in Harlem. In the audience that night was Art Freeman, a music scout for Apollo Records. The record company was hoping to expand the artists on its roster and had been interested in exploring the Gospel genre. Jackson impressed Freeman and she was later signed to a four-record session. While the first three singles did not sell well, the fourth, "Move On Up a Little Higher," sold 50,000 copies in Chicago and 2 million nationwide. It made it to the number two spot on the "Billboard" chart for two weeks, a first for a Gospel music track. Jackson then recorded two more records, "Dig a Little Deeper" and "Even Me," both of which became hits.

Due to this quick success, Jackson became something of an overnight sensation. A position as the official soloist of the National Baptist Convention was created for her and her audiences quickly multiplied to tens of thousands. She was approached by promoter Joe Bostic to perform Gospel music at Carnegie Hall. As Gospel had never been performed there before, Jackson was very nervous, but ultimately, the performance was a massive success. It was so successful that it was made into an annual event that Jackson headlined for many years.

From then on, Jackson's career was a consistent success. She became massively popular not only in the United States but around the world. She toured often through the U.S. and Europe. She was also an active participant in the civil rights movement and sang for fundraisers and at the March on Washington in 1963. She was a loyal supporter of Martin Luther King Jr. and a personal friend of his family.

Throughout her career, Jackson faced immense pressure to sing secular music. However, she consistently refused to do so and turned down many opportunities in order to concentrate on gospel. Her devotion to the genre brought about the golden age of gospel, which made it possible for many other gospel artists to be successful.

Personal Life and Death

In 1935, Jackson met Isaac Hockenhull, a chemist working as a postman during the Great Depression. They courted for a year and then married. However, Hockenhull was a compulsive gambler and often spent the money that Jackson made singing during her early career. They subsequently divorced. Years later, she began courting Sigmond Galloway, a former musician then working in the construction business. They married in her living room in 1964. The marriage dissolved a few years later due to Galloway's infidelities and abusive behavior towards Jackson.

While performing in Europe in 1971, Jackson became ill while in Germany and flew home to Chicago, where she was hospitalized. In January of 1972, she had surgery to remove a bowel obstruction and died in recovery. While fans and news outlets had been aware that Jackson suffered from various health problems, her death was still very shocking. She received a funeral service at Greater Salem Baptist Church in Chicago, and over fifty thousand people paid their respects. Her body was then taken to New Orleans, where she lay in state at the Rivergate Auditorium under military guard. More than sixty thousand people came to view her casket. She was laid to rest in Providence Memorial Park.

All net worths are calculated using data drawn from public sources. When provided, we also incorporate private tips and feedback received from the celebrities or their representatives. While we work diligently to ensure that our numbers are as accurate as possible, unless otherwise indicated they are only estimates. We welcome all corrections and feedback using the button below.
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