Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Today In History; Marian Anderson sings at Lincoln Memorial

1939: On Easter Sunday in 1939, more than 75,000 people assembled in front of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., to hear famed African-American contralto Marian Anderson give a free open-air concert. Anderson had been scheduled to sing at Washington's Constitution Hall, but the Daughters of the American Revolution, a conservative historical society that controlled the concert hall, refused to allow her to perform because of her race. An indignant Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady at the time, resigned her membership from the DAR in protest, and arranged Anderson's alternate performance at the Lincoln Memorial. The actions of both women brought clearly to the fore the problem of racial discrimination in America.

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