It’s funny how they do things educationally.
I’m pretty sure most of us learned of Marian Anderson as the (beautiful) black woman that Eleanor Roosevelt had sing for the nation.
“Contralto singer Marian Anderson performed on the steps on the Lincoln Memorial, after being refused the largest indoor stage in Washington because she was black. It was a remarkable moment in civil rights and U.S. history.”
Marian Anderson’s voice had preceded her. She already was a juggernaut on the world stage, known and adored here and abroad.
Constitution Hall was such a (large enough) place( to accommodate the crowds Anderson drew), but the Daughters of the American Revolution owned the hall. They refused to allow her use of the hall,” Keiler says, “because she was black and because there was a white-artist-only clause printed in every contract issued by the DAR.Allan Keiler, biographer of Marian Anderson.
Their pettiness then(that our country is also seeing pointedly mirrored around us in 2021) reduced that well-deserved worldwide renown to one a historical line about one sublime, defiant performance to poke America’s racially myopic ass in the eye. As was needed.
But….how many of you were played the recording of the performance?
Told about it, yes.
Introduced to the experience that the actuality of her voice was? No. So let’s start there.
Instead of carping about why that fleshed-out intro wasn’t done…I’m going to present this another way.
…Because it doesn’t have to matter why they did whatever anymore.
What I want…is for US to appreciate WHY there wasn’t a hall big enough to hold this woman’s voice without tangling with those DAR chicks.
This is Marian Anderson singing Bach : https://youtu.be/EuzYE3E0Nfk