First Coast Opera performed a tribute to Marian Anderson at St Cyprian Episcopal Church, March 1 & 3 and March 2 at Players by the Sea in Jacksonville Beach. Marian Anderson (February 27, 1897-April 8, 1993) was an American singer and one of the most celebrated singers of the twentieth century. Anderson became an important figure in the struggle for black artists to overcome racial prejudice in the United States during the mid-twentieth century.
In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution refused permission for Anderson to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall. The incident placed Anderson into the spotlight of the international community on a level unusual for a classical musician. Anderson continued to break barriers for black artists in the United States, becoming the first black person, American or otherwise, to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City on January 7, 1955.

1 comment
  • Laura Boxer 3 years ago

    from FDR presidential Library, Day by Day. Marian Anderson (1897-1993) was an African-American contralto who is forever linked to Eleanor Roosevelt and the civil rights movement. Anderson first gained fame and success singing throughout Europe. Despite her fame, Anderson still faced prejudice and discrimination when she returned to the United States in the late 1930s.

    In 1939, Anderson and her sponsors sought to have a performance at Constitution Hall, a venue owned by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Anderson was denied use of the hall because it was a venue for white artists only. In the outrage over the denial, civil rights activists urged Eleanor to denounce the DAR, an organization to which she belonged. Instead, Eleanor sent a letter of resignation to the DAR and then announced her action in her “My Day” column (without naming the organization). With help from the Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, Anderson performed an open-air concert Easter Sunday on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.


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