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Marian Anderson

people american

Anderson, Marian (1902–93), U.S. contralto. Overcoming the handicaps of poverty and discrimination, she became an international singing star in the 1930s. In 1939, Anderson was refused permission to perform in the DAR Constitution Hall, in Washington, D.C. Through the sponsorship of Eleanor Roosevelt and Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes, Anderson sang from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to a massive crowd of people of all races. She was awarded the Springarn Medal by the National Association of Colored People for the highest achievement by a black American (1939). In 1955 she became the first African American to sing a leading role with, and be named a permanent member of, the Metropolitan Opera. She also served as alternate delegate to the UN in 1958, and won the UN peace prize in 1977.

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