On This Day

Marian Anderson

Singer Marian Anderson

Profession: Singer

United States of America

Biography: One of the most celebrated singers of the 20th century.

In 1939 the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused permission for Anderson, an African American to sing to an integrated audience in their Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. Thousands of DAR members, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, resigned from the organization as a result.

In response, President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Walter White, executive secretary of the NAACP, helped arrange an open-air concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for Anderson. The concert with a crowd of more than 75,000 people and a radio audience in the millions was a sensation.

Later in 1955, she became the first African American to perform with the New York Metropolitan Opera.

Born: February 27, 1897
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Generation: Lost Generation
Star Sign: Pisces

Died: April 8, 1993 (aged 96)
Cause of Death: Congestive heart failure

Married Life

  • 1943-07-17 One of the world's greatest contraltos, American Marian Anderson (46) weds architect Orpheus H. Fisher in Bethel, Connecticut

Historical Events

  • 1939-04-09 Marian Anderson sings before 75,000 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
  • 1955-01-07 Marian Anderson becomes the 1st African American to perform with the New York Metropolitan Opera
  • 1963-12-06 President Lyndon B. Johnson confers Presidential Medal of Freedom on 31 recipients selected by JFK, including: contralto Marian Anderson; diplomat Ralph Bunche; cellist Pablo Casals; Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter; labor leader George Meaney; architect Mies van der Rohe; pianist Rudolf Serkin; writers E.B. White and Thorton Wilder; and painter Andrew Wyeth; as well as posthumously to JFK himself, and Pope John XXIII

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