I’ve played Constitution Hall. Well, okay, technically it was 9th grade and I was in the school band playing Pomp and Circumstance over and over again (think Sartre) for our high school graduation, but I was in Constitution Hall and I was playing an instrument and so I’m counting it.
I almost wasn’t allowed to go.
I almost wasn’t allowed to go because of this woman:
Singer Marian Anderson.
See, back in 1939 the Daughters of the American Revolution, who own Constitution Hall refused to let Anderson –who was one of the most popular classical vocalists in the world– perform at Constitution Hall because she wasn’t white.
Eleanor Roosevelt –right-minded old broad that she was– resigned from the DAR and helped organize Anderson’s famous Easter concert at the Lincoln Memorial, attended by over 75,000 folks.
“I suppose I might insist on making issues of things. But that is not my nature, and I always bear in mind that my mission is to leave behind me the kind of impression that will make it easier for those who follow.”
For a goosebump par excellence experience check out this incredible speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and hear Ms Anderson sing “My Country ’tis of Thee”
Happy Independence Day gang. Celebrate it if you’ve got it.