“As long as you keep a person down, some part of you has to be there to hold him down, so it means you cannot soar as you otherwise might.”
“You lose a lot of time hating people.”
Marian Anderson was an incredible contralto singer who was the first African American person to perform at the Metropolitan Opera, in 1955. As a young girl, she did not let her poverty stop her from pursuing her musical gifts, and she trained herself. Her Church choir was so impressed by her talent and determination that they raised a fund for her to get formal lessons. She became world-famous, and President Roosevelt and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt invited her to sing at the White House (the first African American to receive this invitation). When Anderson tried to perform at Constitution Hall, the organization Daughters of the American Revolution told her there were no dates available, because their policy barred Black performers from the Hall. Eleanor Roosevelt and many members of the public were outraged, and Eleanor Roosevelt invited her to sing at the Lincoln Memorial. She stunned a live crowd of 75,000 people and millions more over the radio with her talent. Anderson later performed the National Anthem at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, and in 1991 won a Grammy Award for Lifetime Achievement.