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833 SE Main St
Portland, OR, 97214

Sonic Sketches are beautiful, three-panel portraits of the world's greatest songs…transformed into striking works of visual art.

Mahalia Jackson – "Amazing Grace"

Vintage & Americana

Mahalia Jackson – "Amazing Grace"


Mahalia Jackson – "Amazing Grace"

from 49.00

Mahalia Jackson, once described by entertainer Harry Belafonte as "the single most powerful black woman in the United States,” never doubted the power of music. In 1963, at Martin Luther King Jr’s request, Jackson performed at the March on Washington, singing “How I Got Over” to 250,000 people. In 1968, after King’s assassination, Jackson sang “Take My Hand, Precious Lord” at the civil rights leader’s funeral.

Among Jackson’s seminal works: the 1956 album Gospels, Spirituals, and Hymns, which earned Jackson the title “Queen of Gospel”, and featured her rendition of “Amazing Grace”.

Often called "the most famous of all folk hymns,” “Amazing Grace” has an origin as dramatic and powerful as the song itself.

In 1748, John Newton, a slave-trader (and avowed agnostic), was caught in a mid-Atlantic storm so severe that it threatened to sink his vessel. At the height of the storm’s fury, Newton called out to God for mercy, a moment that –as he later recounted– marked the beginning of his spiritual conversion. “Amazing Grace” was Newton’s musical account of this event.

Though his full transformation would not come for several years, Newton eventually became a dedicated abolitionist, writing that “It will always be a subject of humiliating reflection to me...that I was once an active instrument in a business at which my heart now shudders.”

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