In 1939, singer Marian Anderson was denied permission to perform at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC because she was African American. At the time, Washington, DC was a segregated city.

It was the Daughters of the American Revolution who refused permission for Anderson to sing before an integrated audience in Constitution Hall. As a result, Anderson came to the attention of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Instead, an open-air concert was held on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial overlooking the Reflecting Pool on Easter Sunday, April 9th. She sang before 75,000 people assembled and a radio audience that tuned in to her performance.

Years later, she was the first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City in 1955.

For several years, she worked as a delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Committee as a “goodwill ambassadress” for the United States Department of State, giving concerts all over the world.

In 1963 she sang at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. Anderson received numerous awards including the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963.

Marian Anderson (1897-1993) was an American singer, one of the most celebrated of the 20th century. From 1925 to 1965, she performed in concerts and recitals in major music venues and with renowned orchestras throughout the US and Europe.

More Info: