Music, Marginalization, and Racial Identities

  • Sharon R. Vriend
Part of the Cross-Currents in Religion and Culture book series (CCRC)


Marian Anderson, an African-American contralto of international acclaim, sang to 75,000 people on Easter Sunday, 9 April 1939, from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Her concert was the culmination of a controversy about race conducted through institutional channels and the public platform of the press. The controversy began with the refusal of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) to let Anderson perform in Constitution Hall. The DAR operated under a policy which banned African Americans and other non-whites from renting their facility. After being turned down by the DAR, Howard University, the sponsor of the concert, attempted to reserve the Central High School auditorium, a white high school situated in Washington DCs segregated school district. Central and the school district representatives denied Howard — a predominantly African-American institution — use of the facility. After First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned in protest from the DAR, a nationwide controversy ensued regarding racial discrimination.


Racial Discrimination Racial Identity Racial Formation American Dilemma White High School 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2000

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  • Sharon R. Vriend

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