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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Marian Anderson Memorialized

Au contraire Washington Post, there were more than 2,000 persons who attended the Marian Anderson Memorial Concert at the Lincoln Memorial Sunday. Look at the pictures. I would say double 2,000.

The music wafted across to the World War II Memorial which fed listeners to the concert which, it did seem to be true, was unknown to most (based upon observation) until they got within good listening distance.

None of the performers could be seen by more than the few who surrounded them in a semi-circle below Abraham Lincoln. (Or at least I think it was a semi-circle for I could not see either.) Jumbotrons would have increased listening pleasure, that’s for sure.

Some listeners brought folding chairs; others, dozed on towels and blankets. Most of us stood.

On a gorgeous Easter Sunday the beautifully strong music brought peace, happiness and gratitude for Ms. Anderson and Eleanor Roosevelt.

A handsome program printed in gold tones on heavyweight slick stock added to the day's dignity, augmented by a naturalization ceremony for new citizens.

The program carried a half page apology from the Daughters of the American Revolution which offered up its mea culpa once more (how many times over the 70 years?):

[T]he DAR deeply regrets that Marian Anderson was not given the opportunity to perform at Constitution Hall in 1939, but today we join with all Americans to honor her memory and commemorate a pivotal event in the struggle for racial equality.

Consider the alternative: What if Marian Anderson had been permitted to sing at Constitution Hall in 1939? Would she still be included as one of the renowned civil rights pioneers?

Her singing in 1939 on Easter Sunday at the Lincoln Memorial would not have become "one of the early, defining moments in the history of protest against racial inequality in America." The DAR says it "is proud to demonstrate that change is possible."

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