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National Archives Comes Alive! Young Learners Program: Meet Marian Anderson (portrayed by Jillian Pirtle)
  • Date: Thursday, May 19, 2022
  • Time: 11:00 am
  • Location: Online

Meet Marian Anderson, the African American contralto and civil rights activist, as portrayed by Jillian Pirtle. Discover the story of how her concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday in 1939 transformed the Lincoln Memorial into a place of protest.

Marian Anderson is best known for her concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday in 1939. The Daughters of the American Revolution owned Constitution Hall, a performing arts venue built in 1929. The DAR refused to allow Marian Anderson to perform at Constitution Hall based on their “Whites only” concert policy. Marian Anderson gained support from First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, the NAACP, Howard University, and other leaders who arranged for a concert at the Lincoln Memorial of an integrated audience of over 75,000 people. The concert was an inspiration for the growing civil rights movement, and the Memorial became a place of protest in the struggle to extend rights to all American citizens.