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Anderson, Marian)

Marian Anderson at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington Sunday, April 19, 1939.

Printed matter

[Anderson, Marian].  Program:  "Marian Anderson at The Lincoln Memorial in Washington  Sunday, April 9, 1939".   [Washington, DC, 1939].   
4to;  single sheet 12 x 18", folded to 6 x 9"; printed on off-white heavy stock; some age-toning to stock, else very good.
Program for Marian Anderson's landmark concert at the Lincoln Memorial, inscribed by her to a sponsor of the concert: To / Mr. Doxey A. Wilkerson / Gratefully / Marian Anderson.  
Marian Anderson, born in 1902, is a figure to inspire and admire.  She began singing in high school and received enough encouragement to persuade her to apply to a music school, which, because she was black, abruptly declined her application.  It was one of many rebuffs Anderson received, none of which altered her determination to sing.  She continued to perform to black audiences and to study as time and money allowed.  In 1925 the soprano entered and won a competition held by the Philadelphia Philharmonic, the first time it had been won by an African American.  After successfully competing in another competition, Anderson turned her career over to professional management.  She studied abroad and sang to European audiences in Scandinavia, the Soviet Union, Austria and elsewhere.  It was after a concert in Salzburg that Toscanini declared, "Yours is a voice such as one hears once in a hundred years".  
The most famous, or infamous, incident of Anderson's life occurred when a concert at Constitution Hall was cancelled by a functionary because of her race.  Eleanor Roosevelt intervened and arranged with Harold Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior, for Marian Anderson to sing at the Lincoln Memorial, which she did on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939 before a crowd of 7,500.  Howard University with "Associated Sponsors" presented the concert.  Mrs. Roosevelt, of course, heads the list of sponsors, and Doxey Wilkerson concludes it.  Doxey Wilkerson (b. 1905), author and educator, was a Vice President of the American Federation of Teachers at the time.  Among the other sponsors:  Chief Justice Charles Hughes, Secretary of the Treasury Henry Morgenthau, Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, Senator William Borah, Senator Robert LaFollette, Senator Robert Taft, Senator Robert Wagner, Tallulah Bankhead, Mary Bethune, Heywood Broun, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, Kirsten Flagstad, Katherine Hepburn, Sol Hurok, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, John L. Lewis, Frederic March, and Leopold Stokowski.  The sponsors, in brief, represented leaders from virtually every aspect of American life - business, labor, politics, music, theater, film, and journalism.  
The program records details of the concert long since forgotten: the program itself-classical pieces by Donizetti and Schubert, followed by three gospel songs ending with "My Soul is Anchored in the Lord"-the role of Howard University in the concert, and the eminent Americans who supported it.  To underscore the purpose of the concert, the first sentence of Abraham Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is printed at the front cover:  "Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal". An iconic event in American history.

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