Today marks the 72nd anniversary of the historic day when contralto Marian Anderson, after being denied the chance to sing at the Daughter of American Revolution's Constitutional Hall (and as a result, the DAR lost one of its members, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, in protest), performed in front of a crowd of 75,000 at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday.
The Secretary of the Interior, Harold L. Ickes, invited Marian to sing; he introduced her by saying, "Genius draws no color line." To listen to his five-minute speech, visit here.
It is chilling to watch her sing, "My Country 'Tis of Thee" ~ especially with the Great Emancipator in the backdrop of this video.
I will never forget my visit to the Lincoln Memorial -- I cried just standing near it. Every American should visit it at least once in their lifetime.
What a voice, what a smile. An awesome moment in history.
A beautiful photographic history book, meant for readers ages 9-12, is available on Amazon: The Voice That Challenged A Nation: Marian Anderson and The Struggle of Equal Rights, by Russell Freedman.
Be sure to visit The Marian Anderson Historical Society web site ~ and share this historic moment with the children in your life.