Kuiper rests on his towel in front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Marian Anderson and the Lincoln Memorial

“When God gave us this wonderful outdoors, and the sun, the moon and the stars, he made no distinction of race or creed or color.” Harold Ickes, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, speaking at the Lincoln Memorial on April 9, 1939

Kuiper did a heckin’ hangout at the Lincoln Memorial on our summer roadtrip last year. We can thank bacon* ? for its design! Although the memorial is open 24/7 to the public, it’s not dog friendly inside. Fortunately, I was able to hand Kuiper off to my friends while I took a quick peek at the famous statue and inscriptions of the Gettysburg Address and Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address.

You might already know that the Lincoln Memorial was the site of Martin Luther King Jr’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963, with around 250,000 people in attendance. But did you also know that on Easter Sunday of 1939, 75,000 people came to the memorial to hear a black woman sing?

Marian Anderson was an internationally acclaimed contralto. She performed in London, Berlin and all over Scandinavia in Europe, as well as venues like New York’s Town Hall and Carnegie Hall in the US. In 1939, she was invited by Howard University to perform in DC. She was so popular that they needed to rent the largest venue in town, Constitution Hall. Unfortunately, she was barred from doing so because of her race. DC was still segregated at the time (but importantly, the National Mall was not.)

Since protected classes wouldn’t be invented for another 25 years, this was of course perfectly legal at the time. ? However, Marian’s manager was not amused. The public was not amused. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who had first met Marian in 1935 when she performed at the White House, was REALLY not amused.  She helped arrange a concert at the Lincoln Memorial, and urged radio stations across the country to broadcast it live.

On April 9, 1939,  US Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes introduced Marian to the huge crowd on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. He gave a short but seriously underappreciated speech ?, which was recorded along with part of the concert and can be found online. I’ll put a link in story.

* Henry Bacon was the name of the architect

Original post: https://www.instagram.com/p/BfOX_LOAlS6/

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