Marian Anderson

“As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be down there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might.”
– Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson (1897-1993) was an American opera singer, who was very successful in Europe but in the US was still not allowed to play in certain venues because of her skin color. After the Daughters of the American Revolution successfully banned her from singing in the Constitution Hall in 1939, Eleanor Rosevelt publicly renounced her membership of the organization and arranged a concert for Marian on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.  She gave a stirring performance of “God Bless America,” which heralded the beginning of the Civil Rights era.

Watch the performance here.  Check out her smile in the end.  She knows what just happened.


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