Mavis Staples (born 1939 in Chicago) is a civil rights activist who uses music to proclaim her message. Her musical vocation began in the 1950’s as the lead voice of the gospel group, the Staple Singers (aka “God’s Greatest Hitmakers”). Meeting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led them to create a musical soundtrack to the civil rights movement and led Mavis to her lifelong activist role.
Her first solo album was released in 1969. A master of versatility, Staples embraces gospel, soul and rhythm and blues music and her repertoire includes civil rights anthems and freedom songs. Mavis’ 12th album, We Get By, was released in 2019 just shy of her 80th birthday. Reflecting on her life she said, “I’m the messenger. That’s my job—it has been for my whole life—and I can’t just give up while the struggle’s still alive. We’ve got more work to do, so I’m going to keep on getting stronger and keep on delivering my message every single day.” She continues to live on Chicago’s South Side.
Why this stop? The Green Line Indiana stop is close to the Staples’ home and elementary school.
Learn—Check out Rolling Stone’s interview with Mavis Staples.