Lincoln Memorial, 1939
JANUARY 18, 2009
Today's brilliant curtain raiser to this incredibly glorious week was at the Lincoln Memorial, the site of the March on Washington in 1963. Almost as famous was the Marian Anderson concert in 1939. It is very hard for the soul of America not to be stirred by what is happening before our eyes. Part of this, it must be acknowledged, is the connection we all feel to history. Hard to put into words what it all means. But a lot is said in this voice and this face, of 70 years ago.
This from Wikipedia:
"In 1939, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused permission for Anderson to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall. The District of Columbia Board of Education declined a request to use the auditorium of a white public high school. As a result of the ensuing furor, thousands of DAR members, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, resigned.
The Roosevelts, with Walter White, then-executive secretary of the NAACP, and Anderson's manager, impresario Sol Hurok, then persuaded Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes to arrange an open air Marian Anderson concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The concert, commencing with a dignified and stirring rendition of "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" attracted a crowd of more 75,000 of all colors and was a sensation with a national radio audience of millions."