Postal Service Issues Marian Anderson Stamp

Classic Arts News   Postal Service Issues Marian Anderson Stamp
The United States Postal Service will commemorate singer Marian Anderson with a postage stamp that will be issued on January 28.

The image is an oil painting by Albert Slark, based on a photograph believed to have been taken by Moise Benkow in 1934.

Anderson, one of the great singers of the 20th century, was known both for her incredible three-octave range and also for the advances she made in a field not generally open to African Americans. In 1938, she was scheduled to perform an Easter concert at the Daughters of the American Revolution's Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. When the DAR learned that Anderson was black, the organization refused to let her use the hall. Eleanor Roosevelt famously resigned from the DAR in protest.

A year later, on Easter Sunday 1939, Anderson gave one of her most famous concerts, a recital for 75,000 people at the Lincoln Memorial.

Born in 1897 in Philadelphia, Anderson went to Europe in 1927 to study and perform. Despite a tremendous reputation as a recitalist, opera roles were not available to her as a black woman, and she did not make her operatic debut until 1955, at the Metropolitan Opera, when she sang the role of Ulrica in Verdi's Un ballo in maschera.

She was honored with many awards during her lifetime, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the NAACP's Springarn Medal for outstanding achievement by a black American, and a Grammy Award for lifetime achievement.

Anderson died in 1993.

The stamp's first-day-of-issue ceremony will take place on January 28 at Constitution Hall. The ceremony will be attended by, among others, mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, Anderson's biographer Allan Keiler, and conductor James DePriest, Anderson's nephew.

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