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Women of the Hall

Photo Credit: Carl Van Vechten
Year Honored: 1973
Birth: 1902 - Death: 1993
Born In: Pennsylvania,
Died In: Oregon,
Achievements: Arts
Educated In: Pennsylvania
Schools Attended: Stanton Grammar School
Worked In: Pennsylvania, New York, District of Columbia

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Marian Anderson

The great conductor Toscanini told her, "Yours is a voice such as one hears once in a hundred years." This brilliant contralto struggled out of a childhood of poverty in South Philadelphia, where she scrubbed steps and ran errands to earn a few pennies to help her mother. She sang joyfully in the church choir. "We don't take colored," they told her coldly at the music school where she inquired. But she built a career anyway, scraping up money for lessons, and riding the black-only "Jim Crow" railroad cars to sing before black audiences. Like many black artists in the days of segregation, she had to go to Europe to gain recognition. The show business promoter Sol Hurok heard her in Paris and decided to bring her back to this country, ignoring those who told him, "You won't be able to give her away." Her famous concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, 1939, demonstrated that her great talent could shatter the color line. Marian Anderson's career helped to make music one of the first fields in which Black Americans' achievements were given fair and full recognition.
Additional Sources:

Keiler, Allan. Marian Anderson: A Singer's Journey. New York: Scribner, 2000. NOTES: "A Lisa Drew book." Includes discography (p. 353-379), bibliographical references (p. 383-388) and index.

My Lord, What a Morning. New York: Viking Press, 1956. First Edition.

Papers 1939. 11 ft. (7916 items). Howard University, Moorland-Spingam Research Center, Manuscript Division. Washington, D.C.

Papers 1953-1959, ca. 59 items. Smith College, Sophia Smith Collection, William Allan Neilson Library. Northampton, Massachusetts.

Papers 1930s-1960s, 248 boxes, 14 scrapbooks, and a catalog of the collection. University of Pennsylvania, Van Pelt Library, Special Collections. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
National Women's Hall Event in Chicago