- Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site
International Civil Rights: Walk of Fame
Nancy Wilson
Nancy Wilson
1937 - present

Award winning vocalist and philanthropist Nancy Wilson rose to fame as a jazz , R&B and pop star during the 1960s. During that time, she also participated in civil rights activities. Since the late 1990s, Wilson has been associated with MCG Jazz, a social enterprise of the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild and Bidwell Training Center, a nonprofit institution located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that leads and influences public policy, arts, education and cultural issues locally and nationally. Wilson has recorded three CDs on the guild's MCG Jazz label: A Nancy Wilson Christmas, the fifth best selling jazz album of 2001; RSVP (Rare Songs, Very Personal), for which Wilson received the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album; and, most recently, the Grammy nominated album Turned To Blue released in 2006 and, featuring a musical version of the Maya Angelou poem "My Life Has Turned To Blue." All proceeds from the three successful albums have gone to the youth programs of the Manchester Craftsmen's Guild.

As a child growing up in southern Ohio, Nancy Wilson sang in church and school choirs and with dance bands. She had her own local television show at the age of fifteen and later performed in clubs in Columbus, Ohio. She enrolled in the teacher training program at Central State College after high school, but left college in 1956 after choosing show business as her career.

Wilson gained popularity after signing with Capitol Records. She was second only to the Beatles in sales, and her albums outsold those of Frank Sinatra, Peggy Lee and the Beach Boys. Wilson won a Grammy Award for "How Glad I Am" (1964) and an Emmy Award for her 1974-75 NBC-TV-musical series, The Nancy Wilson Show. Over a span of almost half a century, she has recorded more than sixty critically acclaimed albums Wilson received the 2005 United Negro College Fund Trumpet Award, a NAACP Lifetime Achievement Award and, the Oprah Winfrey Legends Award. Wilson has retired from touring but continues to record and perform select engagements. Since 1995, she also has hosted the National Public Radio program Jazz Profiles.