This Day in Black History: Opera Singer Marian Anderson was born

Marian Anderson

HOUSTON — Marian Anderson was born on Feb. 27, 1897 in Philadelphia.

Anderson always had the gift of singing. At the age of 6, she became a choir member at the Union Baptist Church. In 1925, Anderson won first place in a singing competition sponsored by the New York Philharmonic Society. In 1928, she had the privilege of singing at Carnegie Hall in New York for the first time, which launched her successful European singing tour.

In the early 1930s, Anderson began her European tour and received great reviews from music critics. In 1939, on Easter Sunday, Anderson performed in front of more than 75,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial concert in Washington, D.C.

In 1955, Anderson became the first African American woman to perform with the Metropolitan Opera in New York. In 1957, she sang for President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s second inauguration and at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration four years later. In 1965, Anderson retired from singing, but still made public appearances.

On April 8, 1993, Anderson died of congestive heart failure at the age of 96 in Portland, Oregon.

Anderson’s powerful voice made her a powerful woman in black history!

A few of Marian Anderson’s awards and accomplishments:

1939: NAACP Spingarn Medal

1963: Presidential Medal of Freedom

1977: United Nations Peace Prize

1978: Kennedy Center Honors

1984: Eleanor Roosevelt Human Rights Award of the City of New York

1991: Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award

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