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The sound of freedom : Marian Anderson, the Lincoln Memorial, and the concert th
Raymond Arsenault
Adult Nonfiction ML420.A6 A77 2009

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Commemorating the 70th anniversary of African-American contralto Marian Anderson's culture-shifting 1939 Easter Sunday performance at the Lincoln Memorial, the story of this underappreciated Civil Rights milestone resonates even louder in the wake of President Obama's election. Civil rights historian Arsenault (Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice) paints a detailed portrait of America's struggle for racial equality through one of the 20th century's most celebrated singers (of any color). Despite a 40-year career as a world-class entertainer, performing around the globe, Arsenault suffered innumerable racist indignities in her homeland, culminating in the controversial declaration by the Daughters of the American Revolution that barred her from performing in Washington, D.C.'s Constitution Hall. In defiance, Anderson and her entourage arranged for the free, open-air Easter concert, which drew an estimated crowd of 75,000. The peaceful demonstration struck a vital blow for civil rights, and in particular for integration at Constitution Hall, nearly 25 years before Martin Luther King's march on Washington. Arsenault relies heavily on historical manuscripts and newspaper articles, but his vivid understanding of the players keeps the narrative fresh and insightful. Anderson died in 1993, at age 96, but this vivid tribute to her work and times does her memory a great service. (Apr.) Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

From Library Journal:

Marian Anderson rose from humble beginnings in Philadelphia to become a world-renowned contralto and one of the most prominent African American women of her time. Arsenault (John Hope Franklin Professor of Southern History, Univ. of South Florida; Freedom Riders: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice) adds to the large body of literature on Anderson with a book focusing on her iconic 1939 Easter concert. Having been denied the right to perform in Constitution Hall because of its white-performers-only policy, Anderson sang for 75,000 people on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Arsenault writes that this was the "first time anyone in the modern civil rights struggle had invoked the symbol of the Great Emancipator in a direct and compelling way," with Anderson striking a historic blow for civil rights. While readers should be aware of Allan Keiler's more general Marian Anderson or Anderson's own autobiography, My Lord, What a Morning, Arsenault's book is a good one for serious students of the civil rights movement.-Jason Martin, Univ. of Central Florida Libs., Orlando (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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