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*On this date in 1944, Gladys Knight was born. She is a Black singer, songwriter, actress, and author.
Gladys Maria Knight was born in Atlanta, Georgia. She is the daughter of Merald Woodrow Knight Sr., a postal worker, and Sarah Elizabeth (née Woods). She has an older sister, Brenda, one living brother, Merald "Bubba" Jr., and one deceased brother, David. Throughout the late '40s and early '50s, she would sing in the church choir. Gladys Knight first achieved vocal recognition when she won a talent contest on Ted Mack’s “Original Amateur Hour” television show at age seven.
The following year, she, her brother and sister, and her cousins formed a group called The Pips and by the end of the 1950s, they were touring professionally. In 1961, “Every Beat of My Heart” was their first hit. In 1962 they renamed the group Gladys Knight & the Pips. The group went on to record 21 Billboard Top Twenty hits, including “Midnight Train to Georgia” (1973), “Neither One Of Us (Wants To Be The First To Say Goodbye)” (1973), and “Love Overboard” (1987), each of which won a Grammy Award.
In 1987, Knight began a solo career and since then has produced albums such as “Good Woman” (1991), “Many Different Roads” (1998), and “Before Me” (2006). Knight won the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Traditional R&B Vocal Performance for “At Last,” the 2005 Grammy Award for Best Gospel Performance with Ray Charles for “Heaven Help Us All,” and the 2006 Grammy Award for Best Gospel Choir or Chorus Album for “One Voice.” Knight published her autobiography, “Between Each Line of Pain and Glory: My Life Story,” in 1998 and in 2001 published “At Home With Gladys Knight.”
In 1996, Gladys Knight & the Pips were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and into the "Vocal Group Hall of Fame" in 2001.
Knight received an honorary Doctor of Performing Arts degree from Shaw University. In 2019, Knight accepted an invitation to sing the national anthem at Super Bowl LIII. She was criticized for agreeing to perform due to the alleged blacklisting of Colin Kaepernick by the National Football League after he began protesting police brutality during pre-game anthem ceremonies. Knight defended her decision to sing, claiming to understand Kaepernick's reasons for protesting but criticizing him for kneeling during the national anthem. In 2019, Knight was invited to play at the 100th Anniversary of Delaware State Fair, located in Harrington, Delaware.