Renowned jazz vocalist Sigmond Galloway is most famously recognized as the ex-husband of Mahalia Jackson. Mahalia Jackson, an iconic American gospel singer, is celebrated as one of the 20th century’s most influential vocalists. Her extraordinary forty-year career dramatically expanded the influence of gospel blues within American black churches, leaving a lasting legacy in the world of gospel music.

Who Was Mahalia Jackson’s Ex-Husband?

Sigmond Galloway was born on May 18, 1922, in Wetumpka, Elmore, Alabama, USA. As documented by Wikitree, he was the son of Randolph Galloway and Mary Lee (Williams) Courtney, with siblings Emma (Galloway) Brannon and Sylvia Christine (Galloway) McDonald. Following the musical path of his ex-wife Mahalia, Galloway became a jazz musician from northern Indiana.

Early Life and Background

Sigmond Galloway’s early musical explorations were shaped by the vibrant rhythms of Alabama. Immersed in the rich tapestry of African American culture, his musical journey took a pivotal turn when he relocated to Gary, Indiana, where the sounds of jazz awaited him. This move profoundly influenced his musical career, embedding his notes within the city’s dynamic 20th-century jazz scene.

The Marriage of Sigmond Galloway and Mahalia Jackson

Sigmond Galloway and Mahalia Jackson met in 1964, introduced by mutual friends during a chaotic period in Jackson’s life. Despite their brief acquaintance, their connection deepened quickly. Jackson, surrounded by an extensive circle of friends, family, and colleagues, found solace in her relationship with Sigmond, culminating in an intimate wedding ceremony held in Jackson’s living room, surprising their friends and family.

Sigmond Galloway

Reasons for Their Separation

In 1952, Mahalia Jackson began showing symptoms of a heart-related issue, leading to the postponement of her European tour. Over a decade later, she learned she had suffered a heart attack, with Sarcoidosis affecting her heart. Despite public announcements attributing her condition to weariness, Jackson’s symptoms worsened, forcing her to take a year off for recovery. During this period, her husband, Sigmond Galloway, was mostly absent and downplayed her symptoms, leading to arguments and violent incidents. The breaking point came when Galloway’s attempt at a divorce backfired, revealing his infidelities. The court ruled in Jackson’s favor, finalizing their divorce in 1967, three years after their marriage.

Insights into Sigmond Galloway and His Relationship with Mahalia Jackson

Mahalia Jackson’s Previous Marriage

Before marrying the jazz singer, Mahalia Jackson was previously married to Isaac Hockenhull, a college-educated entrepreneur, in 1936. However, their union strained Jackson’s life, as Isaac encouraged her to abandon gospel songs for more secular performances, a proposal she firmly rejected. This disagreement led to their separation and subsequent divorce in 1941.

Connection with Martin Luther King

The ‘Queen of Gospel Music’ shared a close relationship with Martin Luther King, meeting him at the 1956 National Baptist Convention. Their connection deepened, with Mahalia playing a significant role in King’s iconic 1963 speech at the Lincoln Memorial. Her encouragement prompted King to share his dream, shaping one of history’s most powerful speeches. Their collaboration continued, each supporting the other’s requests.

Children of Sigmond and Jackson

Mahalia Jackson did not have children with either Sigmond Galloway or her first husband, Isaac Hockenhull. Her health issues, particularly fibrosis and sarcoidosis, led her to undergo a hysterectomy, preventing her from having children.

Life Post-Divorce

After the divorce, Sigmond Galloway led a private life. Although little information is available about his relationships post-divorce, it suggests he continued to resonate with the melodies of his past, away from public view. His musical legacy persisted, echoing his contributions to jazz.

Sigmond Galloway’s Jazz Career

Sigmond Galloway, born in Alabama and raised in Gary Lake, Indiana, discovered his passion for music there. Initially working in the construction business, his love for jazz eventually propelled him into a celebrated performer. His smooth voice and emotive performances solidified his reputation as a premier jazz singer of his generation.

Sigmond Galloway’s Net Worth

Sigmond, maintaining a low profile, disclosed little about his finances. Various sources estimate his net worth to be between $500,000 and $1 million. In contrast, his ex-wife Jackson amassed a fortune of approximately $24 million through her gospel singing career.

Legacy and Influence

The intertwined lives of Sigmond Galloway and Mahalia Jackson reveal a cultural influence that transcends music. Their contributions to jazz and gospel music have left an indelible mark, shaping the cultural landscape and inspiring future generations.

Mahalia Jackson’s


Mahalia Jackson, widely recognized as the Queen of Gospel Music, passed away from a heart attack on January 27, 1972. Her death shocked many as she continued to book concerts despite her well-known illness. Her passing occurred five years after her divorce from Sigmond Galloway.

The Legacy of Mahalia Jackson

Mahalia Jackson’s impact on the music industry is immeasurable. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on October 26, 1911, her powerful voice touched millions, selling an astounding 22 million recordings. Her influence extended beyond gospel music, shaping the spirit of the 20th century.

Influence on Social Change

Mahalia’s impact went beyond the church. Her 1956 meeting with Martin Luther King Jr. marked the beginning of a partnership that resonated throughout the civil rights movement. Her performances at the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom were testaments to her tenacity and willpower. Mahalia’s voice became a beacon of hope during the tumultuous years of racial unrest in the United States.

Musical Versatility

Mahalia’s musical explorations included genres like blues, showcasing her extraordinary versatility. As one of the pioneers of gospel musicians touring Europe, she brought gospel blues to a global audience, significantly impacting the “Golden Age of Gospel.” Her compelling stage presence and powerful contralto voice made her a transcendent figure in popular music.

Sigmond Galloway


In the intricate tapestry of music history, Sigmond Galloway’s jazz journey intertwines with the indelible legacy of Mahalia Jackson. Their union, though brief, left a lasting impact on the cultural landscape. Sigmond’s velvety voice, rooted in Alabama and enriched in Indiana, continues to resonate. The intertwining of their lives, marked by love and discord, shaped not only their personal narratives but also the trajectory of gospel and jazz music. Reflecting on their stories, the melodic chords of Sigmond Galloway and the enduring influence of Mahalia Jackson weave a timeless tale of passion, resilience, and musical brilliance.


Who was Sigmond Galloway?

Sigmond Galloway, born on May 18, 1922, in Wetumpka, Alabama, was a jazz singer known for being Mahalia Jackson’s ex-husband.

Can you describe Sigmond Galloway’s musical journey?

Sigmond, originally from Alabama and later settling in Gary, Indiana, was a jazz artist following the musical path paved by his ex-wife, Mahalia Jackson.

How did Sigmond Galloway and Mahalia Jackson meet?

Their story began in 1964 when they were introduced by friends. Despite a short courtship, they surprised everyone with an intimate wedding in Mahalia Jackson’s living room.

Why did Sigmond Galloway and Mahalia Jackson split up?

Mahalia’s health problems, Sigmond’s infidelity, and attempts to take charge, along with a messy divorce case in 1967, led to the end of their marriage.

Did Sigmond Galloway and Mahalia Jackson have children?

No, Mahalia Jackson did not have children, neither with Sigmond Galloway nor her first husband, Isaac Hockenhull.

What happened to Mahalia Jackson after the divorce?

Mahalia continued her gospel music career until her death on January 27, 1972, from a heart attack, five years after her split with Sigmond Galloway.

What was Sigmond Galloway’s net worth?

Though he kept it private, sources estimate Sigmond Galloway’s net worth to be between $500,000 and $1 million.

What made Mahalia Jackson a significant figure in music?

Mahalia Jackson, the Gospel Queen, left an incredible mark on gospel music and civil rights. Her powerful voice impacted various music genres and contributed to the broader cultural conversation.

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