Mahalia Jackson: Walking with Kings and Queens

  • Posted by: Altreneasha Ashley


Accompanied by John Holyfield’s gorgeous illustrations, debut author Nina Nolan’s narrative wonderfully captures the amazing story of how Mahalia Jackson became the Queen of Gospel in this fascinating picture book biography.


Young Mahalia was faced with several obstacles but she did not allow them to slow her down . A true model of resilience,  Mahalia continued to do what she loved most, sing. It is easy for us to become tempted and distracted by things that aren’t important to our desired growth, especially with the vast amount of technology we have today. I was reminded the importance of redirection. The ability to redirect yourself when off track just as Mahalia did, is a tool we all need.


As an family therapist, many of my clients face a variety of traumatic events and often times feel defeated as a result. I shared Mahalia Jackson’s story with a couple of them and it provided a bit of motivation and redirection for them to keep pursuing their goals. One of my clients proclaimed,  “Barefoot to singing with MLK!!!”  At the end of session, we watched one of Mahalia’s video’ son YouTube where she sang “Take My Hand Oh Precious Lord”. 

It was then that I realized the true power of her words: Precious Lord, take my hand. Lead me on, let me stand. I am tired, I am weak, I am worn. Whatever your source of motivation and redirection is, use it daily so you too can walk among kinds and queens like the legendary Mahalia Jackson.

Altreneasha Ashley
Author: Altreneasha Ashley

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