Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson was known for her contralto voice that covered everything from opera to Negro spirituals. PHOTO: File

Tribune Staff Report

Widener University is presenting a free public screening of the documentary, “Once in a Hundred Years, The Life and Legacy of Marian Anderson.”

The film will be shown Tuesday, April 9 — the 80th anniversary of Anderson’s historic concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. It will be shown in Lathem Hall, 1301 Potter St., Chester. Doors open at 6:15 p.m. with light refreshments.

Filmmaker Bill Nicoletti, director and co-founder of Visual Innovations, will attend the screening and open the program at 6:30 p.m. Nicoletti will take questions from the audience after the film concludes until the program ends at 8 p.m.

The Daughters of the American Revolution denied Anderson, a singer from South Philadelphia, the right to sing at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., because of her race. That decision prompted first lady Eleanor Roosevelt to resign her membership in the DAR, and it led to Anderson singing at the Lincoln Memorial instead.

Her outdoor concert on April 9, 1939, drew 75,000 people and was a seminal moment in the Civil Rights Movement.

Anderson was known for her contralto voice that covered everything from opera to Negro spirituals.

Anderson broke barriers for African-American artists in the United States throughout her career. She also worked as a delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Committee and as “goodwill ambassadress” for the U.S. State Department.

Widener University is pleased to present this event, which is free and open to the public. The world premiere of “Once in a Hundred Years, the Life and Legacy of Marian Anderson,” was in February at The Kimmel Center.

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