It happened today - August 28, 2015
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZJg5Op5W7yw On August 28 we should honour Mahalia Jackson. Starting by Googling her. I had to.
It turns out that she was a very successful gospel singer in the United States whose long and successful recording career made her internationally famous as “the Queen of Gospel”. She was also an influential civil rights activist. But on August 28 1963 she did something that went virtually unnoticed except by those closest to her. Or rather it was noticed around the world; it was only her part that went unremarked.
You see, she was at the Lincoln Memorial, standing behind Martin Luther King Jr. as he delivered what would quickly be recognized as one of the greatest speeches in American history, certainly the greatest since the invention of recording technology. He famously improvised the ending to that speech, the overwhelmingly powerful and brilliant “I Have a Dream” conclusion. And apparently he did so because Mahalia Jackson leaned over and said “Tell them about the dream, Martin. Tell them about the dream, doctor.”
He had spoken of his dream in other speeches. But he wasn’t planning to finish with it in this one until she prompted him. Then he did, in words that changed a nation and still bring tears to the eye. If you have not listened to it, or watched the classic video (you can find it on YouTube), you must do so. And then I think it might be time to rediscover the music of Mahalia Jackson, who changed the course of history in a moment of undeniable inspiration.