February's Black Arts-National City Artist of the Month is contralto Marian Anderson, a master of repertoire across operatic, recital, and American traditional genres.
Born in Philadelphia, Anderson applied to an all-white music school after her graduation from high school in 1921, but was turned away because she was black. She debuted with the New York Philharmonic in 1925 and sang for the first time at Carnegie Hall in 1928.
But it was her performance on Easter Sunday, 1939 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. that captured the hearts of the American public.
A master of repertoire across operatic, recital, and American traditional genres, Marian Anderson played a vital role in the acceptance of African-American musicians in the classical musical world On January 7, 1955, she became the first African-American to perform with the New York Metropolitan Opera, playing a vital role in the acceptance of African-American musicians in the classical musical world
Recognized for her virtuosic musical talent, as well as her generosity and commitment to others, Ms. Anderson was the recipient of many honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom. On her 75th birthday in 1974, the U.S. Congress passed a resolution ordering a special gold medal minted in her honor.
Marian Anderson died at the age of 96 in Portland, Oregon.
The Black Arts-National City Artist of the Month is presented with the sponsorship of National City, dedicated to supporting the communities they serve.