Marian Anderson 2/27/1897-4/8/1993
Born in Philadelphia, PA • Joined church choir at age 6 • Applied to an music school after graduation in 1921, but was turned away because she was black • She debuted with the New York Philharmonic in 1925 • She toured Europe in the 1930s. She did not encounter the same racial prejudice there as she did in the United States
In 1939 the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused permission for her to sing to an integrated audience at Constitution Hall. The DC Board of Ed also refused to let her use the auditorium of an all-white high school. As a result, thousands of DAR members, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, resigned.
The Roosevelt’s then persuaded the Secretary of the Interior, Harold Ickes, to arrange an open air concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial • The concert was held on Easter Sunday, 1939 • The crowd was over 75,000 people strong of all races • The concert concluded with a rendition of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” • Was heard by millions over the radio
In 1943, she was invited by the DAR to perform to an integrated audience at Constitution Hall as a fundraiser for the American Red Cross • The Federal Government still would not let her use the public high school gymnasium in DC • 1943 she married architect Orpheus Fisher
Anderson and Fisher tried to buy a farm, were barred many times because they were black • Finally bought 100 acre farm near Danbury, Connecticut. Named it Marianna Farm • Built an acoustic rehearsal studio on the farm • Couple remained on the farm until Fisher’s death in 1986. Anderson stayed until 1992, one year before her death
1972 was awarded the UN Peace Prize • Retired from singing in 1965 • Kennedy Center Honors in 1978 • Lifetime achievement Grammy in 1991 • Has an award named after her. The Marian Anderson Award is given to an artist who exhibits leadership in a humanitarian area • Died in 1993 of heart failure at the age of 96 in Portland, Oregon