On Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, Marian Anderson performed a free open-air concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. She sang before a crowd of more than 75,000 people and a radio audience in the millions. Anderson continued to break barriers for black artists in the United States, becoming the first black person, American or otherwise, to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City on January 7, 1955.
At Eleanor Roosevelt’s behest, President Roosevelt and Walter White, then-executive secretary of the NAACP, and Anderson’s manager, impresario Sol Hurok, persuaded Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes to arrange an open-air concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. The concert was performed on Easter Sunday, April 9, and Anderson was accompanied, as usual, by (Finnish pianist Kosti) Vehanen. They began the performance with a dignified and stirring rendition of “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee”. The event attracted a crowd of more than 75,000 of all colors and was a sensation with a national radio audience of millions. (Wikipedia)