Marian Anderson: My Lord, What a Morning

(1956)

Impact

Although it lasted for only a half-hour, the 1939 Lincoln Memorial concert had profound and lasting consequences, for Marian Anderson and for the nation. First, on a personal level it established Anderson as a civil rights icon, uniquely identified with the Lincoln Memorial, the Lincoln legacy, and the ongoing struggle for black rights and racial equality. For the remainder of her life, an eventful fifty-four years punctuated with civil rights milestones and public service, she enjoyed an eminence that transcended the world of music.

Second, the 1939 concert initiated a long tradition of civil rights protest and pageantry associated with the Lincoln Memorial. In the years since the original Anderson concert, the Memorial has served as the designated backdrop and ceremonial site for scores of social and political protest rallies, including the epochal August 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom. In 2009 the Memorial was the scene of a memorable pre-inauguration concert...

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Marian Anderson (Library of Congress)

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