Marian Anderson was born on February 27, 1897, in Philadelphia, PA. John and Anna Anderson were Marian’s parents. Her dad was a loader at the Reading Terminal Market. He died in 1912 from an accident at work. Her mom was a teacher. Marian had two younger sisters. Marian showed that she was a great singer as a child, but her family did not have the money to pay for proper training. People in her church raised money for her to go to music school for a year.
When Marian was six years old she started singing in the choir at the Union Baptist Church.
She received the nickname “The Baby Contralto. ” When Anderson was eight years old her dad bought her a piano. Her family wasn’t able to pay for lessons so Marian taught herself. At the age of 13 years old, Marian joined the senior choir at church. She started visiting other churches. She grew to be well-known and started accepting invitations to sing.
Marian was so popular, she sometimes performed at three different places in one night. Eventually, she received five dollars for each performance. When Marian was 15 she started voice lessons with Mary Saunders Patterson.
The Philadelphia Choral Society raised money to give Marian $500. 00 so she could study for two years with Agnes Reifsnyder. Marian went to William Penn High School until her music career developed. She switched to South Philadelphia High School where she focused on singing and music. Marian graduated at age 18. She tried to get into a local music school, but was turned away because of her color. Marian’s devotion to music made an impression on the rest of her choir. Her church raised around $500, to pay for Marian to learn under Giuseppe Boghetti.
She also won a chance to sing at the Lewisohn Stadium in New York from contest controlled by the New York Philharmonic Society. In 1919, Marian performed at the National Baptist Convention. Marian sang in 1928 at Carnegie Hall for the first time. She later went on tour in Europe thanks to a Julius Rosenwald scholarship. In the 1930’s, Marian was invited by President Roosevelt and his wife Eleanor to sing at the White House. She was the first African American ever to be given this honor. In 1939 Marian’s manager tried to arrange a show for her at Washington, D. C. ‘s Constitution Hall.
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) told Anderson and her manager that there were no dates available. This wasn’t true. They were turned away because of a policy that was in place by the DAR that devoted the hall to being a place only for white performers. When the public found out this news, they were angry. Eleanor Roosevelt then invited Marian to sing at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday in front of a crowd of more than 75,000. Marian married Orpheus H. Fisher in July 1943. He was an architect from Delaware. In 1950, Marian refused to sing if the crowd was segregated.
In 1955 Marian was the first African American singer to sing as a member of the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. Marian had performed over a thousand times in 1956. In 1961 Marian sang the national anthem at President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration. In 1963, Kennedy honored the singer with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. On April 19, 1965, Marian gave her last concert at Carnegie Hall. Marian received many awards during her career. In 1939, she was given the Springarn Medal. In 1941, she won the Bok award for being an outstanding Philadelphia citizen. She won $10,000.
She used the prize money to start the Marian Anderson Scholarships. President Lyndon Johnson awarded her the American Medal of Freedom in 1963. In 1977, Congress presented her with a gold medal on her 75th birthday. The U. S. Treasury Department made a half-ounce gold commemorative medal with her image in 1980. President Ronald Reagan awarded her with the National Medal of Arts in 1986. In 1991, Marian was honored with a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement. Rather than fight over the racism she experienced, Marian chose to avoid circumstances when she could.
Marian was accepted into the finest hotels and restaurants in Europe. She was often moved to third- or fourth-class accommodations in the US. Marian said, “If I were inclined to be combative, I suppose I might insist on making an issue of these things. But that is not my nature, and I always bear in mind that my mission is to leave behind me the kind of impression that will make it easier for those who follow. ” Anderson lived on her farm in Connecticut after retiring in 1965. Marian died in Portland, Oregon on April 8, 1993.
Cite this Biography of Singer Marian Anderson
Biography of Singer Marian Anderson. (2016, Oct 04). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/marian-anderson/