Laurraine Goreau Interviews and Recordings

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This digital collection consists of select interviews digitized from the Laurraine Goreau collection, HJA-059, of the Hogan Archive of New Orleans Music and New Orleans Jazz, a division of Tulane University Special Collections. The audio interviews were digitized with a 2019 Recordings at Risk grant from the Council on Library & Information Resources (CLIR).

The interviews from the Laurraine Goreau collection were recorded by Goreau from 1971 to 1975 during her research into the life of Mahalia Jackson for her 1975 authorized biography of Jackson, Just Mahalia, Baby. The interviews chronicle the life of Mahalia Jackson, the popular New Orleans-born vocalist and civil rights activist known worldwide as the “Queen of Gospel.” The interviews include details about Jackson’s life, including her childhood, marriage, health, singing and music career, religious engagement, political engagement, and accomplishments up until her death in 1972. Interviewees include musicians and singers that worked closely and toured with Jackson, her extended family, members of the religious community, musicians, entertainers, politicians, and activists. American icons closely associated with Jackson such as the Reverend Ralph Abernathy and Brother John Sellers are interviewed several times. Other recordings included in this collection were made by Goreau during the time she spent with Jackson touring in India and Japan and include live performances, interviews with the press, and site seeing tours. The interviews and recordings provide an intimate portrait of the singer and shed light on the entry of Black gospel music into post-World War II American popular culture while highlighting Jackson’s role in the music industry and the U.S. civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

In making these recordings available, Tulane University Special Collections and Tulane University Digital Library act in good faith. The interviews, like other digital collections, are available for use as they either have been granted permission to be made accessible, are in the public domain, can be made accessible in accordance with fair use policies, are rightfully owned by Tulane University Special Collections, have no known use restrictions, and/or TUSC was unable to confirm that the content showed risk of privacy concerns, copyright infringement, or other objectives.

If you are an interviewee or represent an interviewee and would prefer to have an interview removed, please contact Tulane University Special Collections at Your message should include the name and URL of the interview(s) to be removed, and the purpose for your removal request.

Thumbnail image: Mahalia Jackson "Queen of the Gospel Singers" early Columbia Records promo photo, Laurraine Goreau collection, LGPH0102, Tulane University Special Collections, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
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