Civil Rights Activist

Resigning from the DAR

"...your organization has failed."

"...I am in complete disagreement with the attitude taken in refusing Constitution Hall to a great artist. You have set an example which seems to me unfortunate, and I feel obliged to send in to you my resignation. You had an opportunity to lead in an enlightened way and it seems to me that your organization has failed."

Editor's Note: On February 26, 1939, Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the Daughter's of the American Revolution following the performance ban of renowned opera singer Marian Anderson. The racially segregated Constitution Hall barred African-American performers, like Anderson. Roosevelt's resignation thrust the subject of segregation onto the national stage. Marion Anderson received presidential approval to perform at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday.



Marian Anderson performs "My Country 'Tis of Thee" at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C., 1939
On April 9, 1939, Marian Anderson performed "My Country 'Tis of Thee" on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. During the performance, Anderson changed the lyrics of this popular patriotic song. Instead of "of thee I sing,"...
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