Mahalia Jackson at Booker T Washington High School – Miami Times (1950)

via Miami Times – Miami Dade Library Collection


Henry Stone was a friend to the gospel community, helping the genre’s independent records find their way into the record stores (and other places that sold them), and stoking interest for them on the airwaves by supplying radio DJ’s and program directors with their own copies. Gospel was popular all over America, and there was a strong audience for it in Miami, as evidenced by concerts in high school auditoriums by messengers like Mahalia Jackson and Aretha Franklin at schools like Booker T. Washington, and Northwestern High Schools. The above ad appeared in a 1950 edition of the ©Miami Times newspaper, one of the longest continually published African-American newspapers in the U.S. Mahalia Jackson was billed on this concert as “The Empress Of Gospel Songs.” The concert also featured the Crockett Jubilee Singers of Chicago, the Hughes Gospel Singers, and the Southland Singers. The concert was sponsored by the Sphinx Civic Club (R.C. Coleman President). General admission was $1.25. If you are not familiar with Mahalia Jackson, she sang before the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I Have A Dream” speech at the March on Washington. MLK also used to spend time in Miami, and it was at the Hampton House in Brown-Sub that he is reputed to have written that famous speech.

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