Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson

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Marian Anderson
Music: South side of the 6200 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Opera Singer
Born Feb. 17, 1902 in Philadelphia, PA
Died April 8, 1993 of stroke-related in Portland, OR

Marian Anderson, whose richly textured contralto voice was for years muted because of the color of her skin, lived long enough to see her artistry acclaimed in the concert halls of the world.

The singer set a milestone in civil rights history in 1939 when she performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial after being denied concert rights in Constitution Hall. But she had to wait another two decades to realize the dream of her lifetime, singing with the Metropolitan Opera.

Sol Hurok put her under contract after a 1935 Paris performance. The pact was to last 30 years, the rest of her professional life.

In Europe, she performed privately for composer Jean Sibelius (who said, "My roof is too low for you"), and publicly with Arturo Toscanini (who called hers a "once in a hundred years" voice), and was generally accorded the accolades denied her at home.

The American portion of her career began in New York's Town Hall in 1935 and ended with a farewell performance in Carnegie Hall on Easter 1965.

In June 1939, she became the first black entertainer to perform at the White House, at a state dinner Franklin D. Roosevelt held for Britain's King George VI and his queen.

But her most glorious moment, she said, was on Jan. 7, 1955, when her voice of dark velvet shadows first was heard on the stage of the Metropolitan Opera.

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