Celebrating Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson sits looking to her left

Marian Anderson sits looking to her left

Jordyn Thompson

At age six Marian Anderson became a choir member at Union Baptist Church in Philadelphia, PA. When she was just 12 years old Anderson remained strongly focused in singing and her church choir because she had strong vocals and kept her focused on an activity while going through the loss of her father. The Union Baptist Church saw  Anderson was an amazing talent as a singer and her commitment to music,so they raised about $500 to send Anderson to train under popular voice teacher, Giuseppe Boghetti
For two years Anderson studied with Boghetti before entering a New York Philharmonic Society singing contest. That’s when she was able to find more opportunities for herself. This opportunity led her go on tour throughout  Europe. In the late 1930’s, President Roosevelt and his wife invited her to perform at the White House ,making her the first African American ever to perform for the president. However Anderson did however face problems with her not being able to perform in certain venues because of her race.
On April 9,1939 over 75,000 people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial to hear opera singer and star Marian Anderson as she performed a free concert to promote civil rights among Americans. The concert had a strong meaning of civil rights. Before the Lincoln Memorial, music halls and segregated schools alike denied Anderson from performing at their facilities. Many times before Washington D.C.’s top music hall had denied her because of her race and skin color.
Even segregated high schools permitted her not to perform in their auditoriums.It took three months for Anderson  to be able to perform and find a venue but when she did on April 9, according to The New Yorker, her movement  was known as a worldwide critic of racial injustice and segregation. Later, still being unable to perform in places like the Constitution Hall, the Marian Citizens Committee was formed that led protests and even being supported by or civil committee’s.
As people became to know more about Anderson, more opportunities began to open up for her. In 1961,at  John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration, she was invited to sing the National Anthem. and in 1991 Anderson accepted a  Grammy Award of Life Achievement. As she got older in age, Anderson lived in Portland, Oregon, and passed away April 8, 1993. She was an influential woman in the music world during the time of racisim. When she faced problems of segregation and racial conflict she remained confident and used her music to touch others.