Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) On April 9, 1939, African-American contralto Marian Anderson* gave a free concert on Easter Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial here in the Nation's Capital.
Miss Anderson was originally scheduled to perform at Constitution Hall but the concert was cancelled by the Daughters of the American Revolution. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR in protest and arranged for Anderson to sing at the Lincoln Memorial.
Mrs. Roosevelt wrote...
"I am in complete disagreement (with your decision)...you had an opportunity to lead in an enlightened way and it seems...your organization has failed."
President Dwight D. Eisenhower made Marian Anderson an honorary delegate to the United Nations and President John F. Kennedy invited her to sing the National Anthem at his inaugural.
*Marian Anderson (1897-1993) was born in Philadelphia, PA & became the 1st African-American singer to perform as a member of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Miss Anderson sang in the East Room in 1962.