American contralto Marian Anderson (1897-1993) will soon be honored with a statue outside of the Academy of Music in Philadelphia, the city where she was born. It will be the first monument to a Black woman in this city, American media say.

The statue is expected to stand on the north end of the steps at the Academy of Music, where the singer performed numerous times throughout her life.

Marian Anderson is particularly remembered for her conscience-grabbing concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday, 1939 after she was denied the use of Constitution Hall, an arena that, from 1935 to 1952, opened its doors to white artists only. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, appalled at the Hall’s racist action, opened the Lincoln Memorial for Anderson’s concert. As Abraham Lincoln’s statue watched over her from behind, Anderson gave an extraordinary performance that will go down in history as one of the most dramatic civil-rights spectacles ever.

In 1935 her performance at the Salzburg festival had earned her worldwide recognition and a compliment from Italian conductor, Arturo Toscanini, who told her, « a voice like yours is heard only once in a hundred years. »

Another sculpture of Marian Anderson was set up years ago at the Converse College in Spartanburg, SC.

  • Pizzicato

  • Archives