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Marian Anderson

2023 Women’s History Month

Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson was a contralto. She performed a wide range of music, from opera to spirituals.

Anderson performed with renowned orchestras in significant concert and recital venues throughout the United States and Europe between 1925 and 1965.

Anderson was an important figure in the struggle for African American artists to overcome racial prejudice in the United States during the mid-twentieth century.

In 1939, during racial segregation, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused to allow Anderson to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. The incident placed Anderson in the international community’s spotlight on a level unusual for a classical musician.

With the aid of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Anderson performed a critically acclaimed open-air concert on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, on the Lincoln Memorial steps in the capital.