Marian Anderson ( b. 1902)
Anderson's talent was recognized at an early age. Through the support of her family and donations from church and community members, she was able to obtain musical training. She joined the all-black Philadelphia Choral Society and in 1930 was granted a Rosenwald Scholarship. She then studied in Europe, where, like many other black American performers, she began her professional career and achieved initial fame. On Easter Sunday in 1939, Anderson was scheduled to sing at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C., but the Daughters of the American Revolution, who owned the hall, refused to allow her to perform. Outraged, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt arranged for the concert to take place instead at the Lincoln Memorial. Anderson, the first African American to perform with the Metropolitan Opera, also performed at the White House and at Eisenhower's inauguration. The recipient of twenty-three honorary doctorates, she became a delegate to the United Nations.