Shillena Parks performed an encore performance with her one woman show and discussed the Queen of Gospel Music, Mahalia Jackson. During her presentation, Parks delved into Jackson’s upbringing and rise to the top of her career. Both Jackson and Parks share many similarities in life. Both are from the south. Both discovered their love of singing at a very early age. Both began singing in church and never strayed from their gospel roots. And both has traveled around the United States and several other countries to sing about their love of God.
During her discussion, Shillena Parks also sang many of the songs that earned Mahalia Jackson the title of Queen of Gospel Music. Among the many highlights of her career, Jackson’s voice was the spiritual melody during the Montgomery Bus Boycotts, the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, the 1963 March on Washington, and the funeral of Dr. Martin Luther King, songs that include Just A Closer Walk With Thee, How I Got Over, Precious Lord Take My Hand, and Move on Up A Little Higher.
Parks most recently performed her one woman show at the North Carolina History Center as a part of the African American Lecture Series. There were over 200 people to see the performance and many were turned away because of space limitations. She concluded with a standing ovation and flowers from the audience, and many well wishers who came to support the show.
Shillena Briley Parks is a minister, gifted gospel singer, and speaker. She is a native of eastern North Carolina and for over forty years has been married to Retired Staff Sergeant Alvin Parks, Sr. She is the mother of three and has one grandchild.