1939 April 9

Marian Anderson Gives Historic Lincoln Memorial Concert


The acclaimed African-American contralto Marian Anderson had been denied permission to give a concert at Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). The denial caused a political uproar, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the organization. President Franklin Roosevelt gave his approval to use the Lincoln Memorial, and a crowd of 75,000 people attended the concert, which was also broadcast to a radio audience estimated to be in the millions of people.

Public outrage over the denial of permission to use Constitution Hall, and the resulting widespread support for Anderson’s concert was an indication of growing popular support for civil rights in the late 1930s.

Read about the concert: Ray Arsenault, The Sound of Freedom: Marian Anderson, The Lincoln Memorial, and the Concert that Awakened America (2010)

See a short film clip of the historic concert: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAONYTMf2pk

Learn more about Marian Anderson: http://www.library.upenn.edu/exhibits/rbm/anderson/

Watch a documentary on Anderson’s life: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfLvusKNU7U

 Learn about Eleanor Roosevelt and the concert at the FDR Libraryhttp://www.gwu.edu/~erpapers/teachinger/case-studies/ERandMarianAnderson%20case%20study%20PDF.pdf

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