Singer, first African American
to perform at the Metropolitan Opera . Lived 1900?-1993
When I think of Marain Anderson one image comes to mind. It is of the diva dressed conservatively in dark clothing, handbag tamely resting on her forearm, her head held high with her lips parted as she sang in 1939 in front of the Lincoln Memorial. I have a black and white postcard of that image on my fridge.
Earlier Anderson , a world class opera singer, had been denied the right to sing at Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution, because she was Black.
An uproar ensued. Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR in protest. The then Secretary of State invited Anderson to sing at the Memorial on Easter Sunday. About 75,000 people came to hear her sing.
Decades later Anderson would perform again on those same steps as part of the March on Washington in 1963.