Marian Anderson
Classical Opera Singer

Marian Anderson was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She loved to sing so much that she joined the church choir at age 6. The church members were so impressed that they set up a trust fund to help pay for Marian's musical training.

Marian's first formal music training was with a renowned voice teacher at age 19. Afterwards, she participated in and won a major singing competition that gave her the chance of performing as a concert singer with the New York Philharmonic. She then won a Rosenwald Fellowship and made her European debut in Berlin in 1930. Marian toured Europe for the next five years, establishing herself as one of the world's finest singers. When she finally returned to the United States, Marian was triumphant in her singing recital at New York's Town Hall and Carnegie Hall. Her singing was described as "music probed too deep for words" by a New York Times reviewer.

Despite the fact that she sang so well, Marian was turned down many singing opportunities back home in America solely because she was African American. In 1939 the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to let her perform at the Constitutional Hall in Washington, D.C. Eleanor Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt's wife and a member of the Daughter's of the Revolution, resigned in protest.

On Easter morning, more than 7,500 people gathered to hear this talented young woman in concert. In 1942, a Marian Anderson award for young singers was established.

Marian Anderson made headlines when she became the first African American to sing a leading role at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. President Dwight D. Roosevelt appointed her a delegate to the United Nations in 1958, and Marian retired from her brilliant singing career in 1965. Marian Anderson was a great singer who never let discrimination stop her.

image from the Library of Congress

1999, by Katherine, fourth grade