Marian Anderson Facts

Marian Anderson Facts
Marian Anderson was an American singer who was one of the most celebrated performers of the 20th century. She was born Marian Anderson on February 27, 1897, in Philadelphia, to John Berkley Anderson and Annie Delilah Rucker. Her family were all devout Christians and were active at the Union Baptist Church. Her aunt convinced her to join the church choir when she was only 6 because of her talent. She began to be paid for singing at local functions. In her teens Marian was making good money for singing. Her father died when she was 12 and the family moved and could not afford school or music lessons. Marian continued to pursue her career.
Interesting Marian Anderson Facts:
Marian was denied attending the Philadelphia Music Academy because she was African American.
In 1925 Marian Anderson won first prize in a singing contest put on by the New York Philharmonic. She performed with the orchestra as a result.
Despite her talent racism was strong in the U.S. which made it difficult for her to perform in as many places as she should have.
Marian Anderson sang at Carnegie Hall for the first time in 1928.
Marian Anderson left the U.S. to pursue a singing career in Europe where she had a highly successful tour.
Marian Anderson appeared at Wigmore Hall in London, England in 1933. She was very well-received.
Marian found her regular accompanist and vocal coach in Scandinavia. She also met a composer who created many songs for Marian to perform over the years.
In 1935 Marian Anderson returned to perform in New York at Town Hall due to her manager's persuasion.
The conductor Arturo Toscanini told Marian Anderson in 1935 that she "had a voice heard once in 100 years."
By the late 1930s Marian Anderson was performing at approximately 70 recitals each year in the U.S. alone, even with racial prejudices still rampant.
Because she was African American Marian Anderson was denied being able to stay in many hotels. Albert Einstein, who was very anti-discrimination, often hosted Marian to stay with him.
In 1939 Marian Anderson was denied permission to perform at Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution. As a result the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People formed the Marian Anderson Citizens Committee. They created petitions and picketed the board of education.
As a result of the committee many members of the DAR resigned, including the First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.
Marian Anderson became the first African American to sing at New York's Metropolitan Opera on January 7, 1955.
Marian Anderson sang at President Eisenhower's inauguration in 1957.
In 1961 Marian Anderson sang at President JFK's inauguration.
In 1965 Marian Anderson retired from singing but appeared publicly on occasion.
Marian Anderson was given many honors including the NAACP Spingarn Medal, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United Nations Peace Prize, the Congressional Gold Medal, Kennedy Center Honors, and many more.
Marian Anderson died at the age of 96 due to heart failure, in Portland, Oregon.


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