Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Society & Culture
  3. Ethnic Cultures

Unforgettable Easter concert: 75 years ago

See also

For Christian believers Holy Week, the last week of Jesus Christ’s life on earth, culminates with Easter Sunday, which commemorates his resurrection from the dead. An event of profound significance also occurred on Easter Sunday, 1939, when Marian Anderson, world renowned contralto, gave an open-air performance from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. More than 75,000 people showed up to listen to the free concert.

More Photos

Originally Anderson was scheduled to perform at Constitution Hall, which was owned by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), but because she was African America, the DAR refused to allow her to use the facility.

Eleanor Roosevelt, wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, resigned from the DAR in protest, and thousands of other members followed suit. With the support of Mrs. Roosevelt and the President, Harold L. Ickes, Secretary of the Interior organized the concert, which has been described as, “. . . one of the early, defining moments in the history of protest against racial inequality in America.”

The accompanying slide show depicts scenes from the life of one of the most admired respected women of the 20th Century, the renowned vocal artist with “a voice that occurs once in a hundred years.”

Take a look at the following article connected to Marian Anderson: Ten African American firsts occurring in January.

Marian Anderson is among those honored with a Black heritage stamp. Click here to view slides in the series.

Advertisement

Life

  • Tom Petty
    Seven overlooked videos that prove the genius of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
    Today's Buzz
  • Gaylord Pickens
    Discover Gaylord-Pickens Oklahoma Heritage Museum dollar days
    Camera
    6 Photos
  • Yoga poses
    Learn how to strengthen your core muscles with these yoga poses
    Camera
    5 Photos
  • Baby boomer STD rates
    Sexually transmitted diseases: Baby boomers booming STD rates
    Camera
    7 Photos
  • Open relationships
    Are you thinking about exercising your option to be in an open relationship?
    Camera
    5 Photos
  • Medical symptoms
    See which symptoms should cause you to seek a doctor’s attention right away
    Camera
    6 Photos