Mahalia Jackson, worship warrior of the Civil Rights movement

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Jackson circa 1962, photographed by Carl Van Vechten
Tonight we went off the beaten Netflix path and pulled up a documentary — Mahalia Jackson: The Power and the Glory. I was expecting the Civil Rights part of the story, but I was not expecting to meet a sister in the LORD.

This isn’t high filmmaking. No high-budget historical recreations. This isn’t Ken Burns. There’s even some cheesy stock film footage used to fill when the photographs and film clips run thin.

I recommend it because it is the story of a faithful servant of God who strove to keep her integrity as a worshiper of the LORD and who, perhaps unknown to her, fought spiritual battles that prepped the nation for the breakthroughs of the Civil Rights movement.

Everybody knows that Martin Luther King Jr. gave his “I have a dream” speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. What was so encouraging was that Mahalia Jackson led worship before and after the speech. Actually, the first song she sang — “I’ve Been ‘Buked, and I’ve Been Scorned” — was more of a prayer to God for the injustice of institutionalized racism in the United States. (listen to it in video on right).

Societal battles are spiritual battles. They are fought in prayer and worship. Often we can’t see the effects of our intercession when we’re in the midst of the battle.

This is why God wrote His Word down. So we could see the reasons for the victories and the failures with the 20/20 clarity of hindsight. This is why history should be important to the believer.

As we fight the societal battles of our time — abortion, family integrity and the preaching of the gospel — in our prayer rooms and beyond, let us be encouraged. Our intercession makes a difference. God hears our petitions and our worship.

And for every general like Martin Luther King Jr. that the LORD commissions, He also commissions worship and prayer warriors like Mahalia Jackson to lead the charge.

“Lord, don’t move the mountain”

by Doris Akers and Mahalia Jackson

Lord don’t move the mountain,
But give me strength to climb it
Please don’t move that stumbling block,
But lead me Lord around it

The way may not be easy,
You didn’t say that it would be
For when our tribulations get too light,
We tend to stray from Thee.
Hallelujah

Lord don’t move the mountain,
But give me strength to climb it
Please don’t move that stumbling block,
But lead me Lord around it

When my folk would slay me,
And these things they will try to do
Lord, don’t touch him but within his heart,
Make him give his Heart to you.

Lord don’t move the mountain,
But give me strength to climb it
Please don’t move that stumbling block,
But lead me Lord around it

4 thoughts on “Mahalia Jackson, worship warrior of the Civil Rights movement

  1. A resounding testimony to our FAITHFUL, TRUE AND LIVING GOD !!!!

    Thank you, Carino for this poignant and astounding reminder that time spent in The Prayer Closet of God our Heavenly Father is always spent for eternity.

    It is such an ENCOURAGEMENT !!!

    You are upheld before His Throne of Grace, especially as asked.

    Blessings, love and SHALOM in Messiah Yeshua,

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