Marian Anderson - Queen of Songs and Civil Rights


The highlight of Marian Anderson's great career - and a defining moment in the earliest days of raising awareness on the issue of civil rights in America - was her performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC on Easter Sunday, 1939. 

The story of her Lincoln Memorial Performance is rooted in the intervention of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and First Lady Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt as a response to the arrogant, racist refusal of the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) to allow Miss Anderson to sing before an integrated audience at Constitution Hall. 

Miss Anderson sang at the Lincoln Memorial with a crowd of over 75,000 attending and a radio audience of over 1 million listeners. 

She continued to break barriers for black artists, notably becoming the first black person - American or otherwise - to perform at the Metropolitan Opera (7 January,1955). Her Met appearance was the only time she sang an opera role on stage. 

Miss Anderson later become a an important symbol of grace and beauty during the civil rights movement of the 1960's. She returned to the Lincoln Memorial, singing at the March on Washington (The event made famous by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's. " I Have A Dream " speech - 28 / 8 / 1963) , worked as a Delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Committee and as a "good will" Ambassador for the United States Department of State. 

Among the Awards Miss Anderson has received are - The Presidential Medal of Freedom (1963) - The Kennedy Centre Honours (1978) - The National Medal of Arts (1986) and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (1991)




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