Marian Anderson (1902-1993) was born in Philadelphia on February 27, 1902. After the Daughters of the American Revolution barred her from appearing at Constitution Hall, she gave her most memorable concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, April 9, 1939. An assemblage of more than 75,000 people included Eleanor Roosevelt, who that same year presented to Anderson the Spingarn Medal. In 1954, she was asked to perform the role of Ulrica in Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera, becoming the first African-American to star at the Metropolitan Opera. In 1958, she was appointed by President Eisenhower to serve as delegate to the United Nations. She has been the recipient of many awards, including an honorary doctorate from Harvard University.
Source: Philadelphia’s Guide: African-American State Historical Markers
The Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection/The William Penn Foundation