Marian Anderson

The first black artist to sing in constitution hall


What black singers have you heard of? Beyonce? Michael Jackson? Maybe Stevie Wonder or Louie Armstrong? Well before them was Marian Anderson. She was a famous black singer that made a tremendous shift in the civil rights movement. Her confidant nature convinced her that she could do anything. A brave and persistent woman, Marian Anderson challenged a nation with her voice.

Early life

Marian Anderson was born in South Philadelphia, where she lived the rest of her early life. Her birthday was on February 27, 1897. Anderson was 6 when she really started singing and was called the “baby contralto”. Anderson was introduced to singing by her aunt. As a young child, her aunt brought her to their town church and was to sing for 25 cents a song. one quote that Marian Anderson said was “ I sang naturally, as free as a bird.” This proved that she sang for a hobby, and enjoyed it.

Adult life

Anderson’s adult life was full of touring. After she finished high school, she toured more widely at many black schools with her pianist, William .B. King, and sang at many black churches and colleges. Anderson’s church saw that she want ed to sing, so they raised money so she could train with a vocal coach. Her concert funds helped her too. She trained with Giuseppe Boghetti, who was a very hard and demanding coach. One of the troubles she encountered during her adult life happened when she sang in the town hall in New York. She had trained hard and thought that she would accomplish something great. When she got to the concert hall, her heart sank. The room was only half full. She sang, and was glad to get over with it. The next day, the critics weren’t kind. they said that she needed to work on her singing and was only a rookie in her carrier. Marian swore she wouldn't sing again but was drawn back to her carrier. However, that moment long ago was soon left in the dust.

Accomplishments and Impact

The biggest of Anderson’s many accomplishments were she was the first black artist to sing in Constitution Hall, the finest auditorium in the United States. She had many people on her side, including Eleanor Roosevelt, and only got involved in the civil rights movement with her struggle to get a concert in Constitution Hall. She said “ The essential point of singing in Constitution Hall was that I wanted to do so because I felt I had that right as an artist.” This was a big reason why she tried to fight to get a concert in Constitution Hall. She fought against segregation and was incidentally but greatly involved in the civil rights movement. Also, one of the great awards that she received was the Spingarn medal, which was awarded by the first lady at the time, Eleanor Roosevelt. This was only the start of all the boundaries she broke. Being the first black singer to do all these things, made it more glorious for her. The reason why this accomplishment was so amazing was because she was the first black to sing in constitution hall. It really made people think about the rights of blacks, and the abilities of blacks. Were whites really better than them? Marian Anderson had done as much as a white woman and maybe even more.


Marian Anderson died on April 8, 1993, in Portland, Oregon. Like a shooting star, her light started to fade. But her legacy still lives on. We honored her till the end and more. Marian Anderson showed that no matter her color, no matter her race, no matter her gender, she could do anything.