Marian Anderson, the elegant and groundbreaking contralto who was the first African American to sing at the Metropolitan Opera, was born 116 years ago today in Philadelphia. She is probably best known to this generation for singing before a crowd of 75,000 at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, after being refused permission to sing at Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution. DAR has made the effort to make up for the slight ever since, inviting Ms. Anderson to sing at the hall on many occasions soon after the infamous 1939 incident. In this photo, Ms. Anderson is shown arriving at Victoria Station in London on November 11, 1936, for her performance at Queen’s Hall. Photo: Bettman/Corbis

Marian Anderson, the elegant and groundbreaking contralto who was the first African American to sing at the Metropolitan Opera, was born 116 years ago today in Philadelphia. She is probably best known to this generation for singing before a crowd of 75,000 at the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, after being refused permission to sing at Constitution Hall by the Daughters of the American Revolution. DAR has made the effort to make up for the slight ever since, inviting Ms. Anderson to sing at the hall on many occasions soon after the infamous 1939 incident. In this photo, Ms. Anderson is shown arriving at Victoria Station in London on November 11, 1936, for her performance at Queen’s Hall. Photo: Bettman/Corbis

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