Marian Anderson (1897-1993) was a world-famous contralto singer in 1939 when the Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R.) told her manager, the impresario Sol Hurok (1888-1974), no dates were available for her to perform at the group’s Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. When Hurok made this public knowledge, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) and other prominent women resigned from the D.A.R. in protest.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882-1945), President of the United States (1933-1945), persuaded Harold LeClair Ickes (1874-1952), U.S. Secretary of the Interior (1933-1946), to arrange for Ms. Anderson to sing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday (April 9, 1939). About 75,000 people attended the concert and millions of people heard her performance via radio. Her dignity in the face of racism was an inspiration to people around the U.S.
In “The Concert that Shook the Establishment,” singer Ollie Watts Davis will perform the same stirring songs that Ms. Anderson performed at the Lincoln Memorial. The concert in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum Plaza at 212 North Sixth Street in Springfield will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 26, 2014.
“The event promises today’s audiences a look back at a legendary concert,” the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum stated. The music Ms. Anderson performed that day, including “My Country ‘Tis of Thee,” will be sung again by Ollie Watts Davis, Professor of Voice at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Davis is the author of two books, founding director of the university’s biennial Black Sacred Music Symposium, and a University Scholar, one of the highest honors the University of Illinois bestows on its faculty.
Steinway Piano Gallery is a co-sponsor of the recital, which is being held in conjunction with the Annie Leibovitz exhibit, Pilgrimage, which will be open for viewing beginning at 6:30 p.m. Inside the exhibit one will be able to view Annie Leibovitz's photo collage of one of Marian Anderson's concert dresses from the 1940s. Pilgrimage will also be open a half hour after the concert which, will begin at 7:30 p.m.
Tickets for this unique event are $12 for adults ($10 for museum members). Admission for children under twelve is free. Tickets may be ordered by following this link: http://bit.ly/Davis-Tix.