The American opera singer Marian Elina-Blanche Anderson was born in Philadelphia on February 27th, 1897. She died on April 8, 1993 in Portland, Oregon. In April 2018, her death will mark the 25th time.
When Marian Anderson was six years old, she started to sing in a church choir. She received a proper musical education when she was 17 and won the first prize in a singing competition with 300 applicants in 1925. Then, the previously unknown singer was allowed to perform with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra and wowed the audience. In the early 1930s, she went on a European tour and sang, among others, concerts conducted by Jean Sibelius, Arturo Toscanini and Bruno Walter. On January 7, 1955 Marian Anderson performed as the first ever African-American singer as a soloist at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
The video shows a historical document of the times: The Conservative Women’s Association “Daughters of the American Revolution” prevented in 1939 a planned appearance of Marian Anderson in Constitution Hall in Washington because of her skin color. In protest against this racial discrimination, Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of the then President, ended her membership in the assoxiation and organized on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939 an open-air concert in front of the Lincoln Memorial, which was attended by around 75,000 people.