The Staples Singers were once called “God’s greatest hitmakers.” Roebuck “Pops” Staples formed the gospel group — a favorite of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. — in the mid-fifties with daughters Mavis, Yvonne, Cleotha, and son Pervis. The family never lost their gospel roots, even as their songs “Respect Yourself” and “I’ll Take You There” put them on the soul, rhythm-and-blues, and pop charts.
As a solo artist, Mavis Staples has continued her family’s musical tradition, singing uplifting songs that champion civil rights. Recently, the incomparable singer-activist collaborated with multi-instrumentalist Ben Harper on a new recording of inspirational songs, We Get By. Her date at the Carolina Theatre will be a return visit to Duke Performances for the multiple GRAMMY winner and audience favorite that NPR regards as “one of America's defining voices of freedom and peace.”