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Thread: Why MLK Chose Lincoln Memorial To Have A Dream

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    Default Why MLK Chose Lincoln Memorial To Have A Dream

    I love PBS.

    Fascinating, riveting, entertaining and educational PBS.

    I tuned in a few days ago and was treated to a documentary on someone called Marian Anderson. I had never heard of her. I was just looking for something to watch. I was totally struck by the show.

    Wow. I mean just Wow.

    She was a black woman born just prior to 1900, in the days of resumed white supremacy after reconstruction was replaced by segregation and strong discrimination. It was a period when all those controversial statues of Confederate leaders were erected all over the South, and all kinds of public institutions were named after them.

    Marian Anderson became a singer back when radio and recordings where in their infancy. There were no recording artists until she came along. She had a truly great voice. But this was an age when blacks were not allowed to mix with whites, and prevented from having a successful career in the USA. Anderson had what success she could entertaining blacks, and got enough money to travel. She went to Europe, where she experienced tremendous success and near equality with whites.

    She came back to the USA and was crushed by the fact that nothing had changed. She tried to forward her career, but was often prevented by Jim Crow. Still, she had a fantastic voice. Part of Jim Crow had a work-around for cases like this where great black entertainers were allowed to perform for whites only audiences. Marian did that. She was very successful. She toured the country and filled music halls.

    Discrimination was a mixed bag. It varied quite greatly from town to town. Some cities were segregated, others were more mixed. Sometimes, she was able to sing to mixed audiences. Mostly, if that was the case, all the black people were forced to sit in separate sections, away from the whites. Usually the black seating was in the back. One time, there was a hall that put all white people on one side, and the black people on the other.

    Marian was not very outspoken about the discrimination she faced. Heartbroken, but she knew how to avoid making too much trouble. But one time, she got into 'good trouble,' as John Lewis put it. She performed at this show with the black people on one side and the whites on the other, and it was apparent she was happier to sing for the blacks than the whites. When the applause came, she slightly nodded to the white side before turning to the black side and making a very deliberate and graceful bow with a huge beaming smile.

    She began to sing only to mixed audiences. She was successful enough that she could make that call.

    Marian was so great, she was asked to sing at the nation's capitol on Easter in 1939. The only music hall which could accommodate the size crowd she would draw was Constitution Hall, which was owned by the Daughters of the American Revolution. They refused to allow any blacks to be in the audience. Marian refused to break her vow to sing only for mixed audiences. She said it was a shame that she could sing for mixed audiences in capitols all over the world, but not in her own country.

    Eleanor Roosevelt was her friend. Eleanor Roosevelt was also a member of the DAR. Eleanor decided if they would not let Marian sing to a mixed audience, that she would resign from the DAR. That made a big stink, but the DAR was powerful and unmoved. FDR got into it. He set it up so that Marian could do an outdoor concert for a mixed audience on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

    And that's what happened. This fantastic black singer drew a crowd of 75,000 on Easter Sunday in 1939.

    The Lincoln Memorial became a shrine to civil rights.

    And THAT is why MLK chose that very same spot to deliver his "I have a Dream" speech.

    "On Easter Sunday in 1939, classical vocalist Marian Anderson gave an open-air performance from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. More than 75,000 people showed up to listen to the free concert. Anderson's performance was introduced by Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes.

    Anderson, one of the United States' most successful classical singers at the time, had been scheduled to perform at Constitution Hall, a celebrated venue operated by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). However, the DAR refused to allow Anderson, an African-American woman, to perform to an integrated audience. Thousands of members of the DAR resigned in protest, led by first lady Eleanor Roosevelt.

    With the support of Eleanor and her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ickes organized the concert, which became a groundbreaking moment in civil rights history. "

    30 minute recording of Marian Anderson's concert at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter in 1939 by National Geographic

    PBS Documentary on Marian Anderson
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    Not surprised nobody is fired up to talk about this.
    Personal Ignore Policy PIP: I like civil discourse. I will give you all the respect in the world if you respect me. Mouth off to me, or express overt racism, you will be PERMANENTLY Ignore Listed. Zero tolerance. No exceptions. I'll never read a word you write, even if quoted by another, nor respond to you, nor participate in your threads. ... Ignore the shallow. Cherish the thoughtful. Long Live Civil Discourse, Mutual Respect, and Good Debate! ps: Feel free to adopt my PIP. It works well.

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    I never knew this story, never heard of Marian Anderson.

    The story moved me to tears.

    Thought others might like to hear it. I tried to sum it up in a post-sized comment.

    I knew that, despite it being such a moving story and going right to the heart of very serious problems we still face today, that it wouldn't get much discussion.

    I just wanted to throw it out there in case it touched at least one other person in a way that is one thousandth as strong as how it touched me.

    I didn't know this part of our absolutely so important history. It was very moving to hear this story.

    Racism is much bigger than our country, our age. It exists all over the world and has for as long as humans have existed.

    For us to think we can solve it is, well, reaching for the sky.

    But one thing I know in my heart. We have to try.
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    We seem to be so hooked on sensationalism that we have lost the ability to address anything below the surface.

    Are we shallow, or what.
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    "Marian Anderson (February 27, 1897 – April 8, 1993)[1] was an American contralto. She performed a wide range of music, from opera to spirituals. Anderson performed with renowned orchestras in major concert and recital venues throughout the United States and Europe between 1925 and 1965.

    Anderson was an important figure in the struggle for African-American artists to overcome racial prejudice in the United States during the mid-twentieth century. In 1939 during the era of racial segregation, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) refused to allow Anderson to sing to an integrated audience in Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. The incident placed Anderson in the spotlight of the international community on a level unusual for a classical musician. With the aid of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Anderson performed a critically acclaimed open-air concert on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, on the Lincoln Memorial steps in the capital. She sang before an integrated crowd of more than 75,000 people and a radio audience in the millions.

    On January 7, 1955, Anderson became the first African-American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. In addition, she worked as a delegate to the United Nations Human Rights Committee and as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United States Department of State, giving concerts all over the world. She participated in the civil rights movement in the 1960s, singing at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963. The recipient of numerous awards and honors, Anderson was awarded the first Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1963, the Congressional Gold Medal in 1977, the Kennedy Center Honors in 1978, the National Medal of Arts in 1986, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1991. "

    wiki
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    MLK gave the I dream speech in Detroit 6 weeks earlier. I was there.

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    Hello Nordberg,

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordberg View Post
    MLK gave the I dream speech in Detroit 6 weeks earlier. I was there.
    The Civil Rights struggle will probably never be resolved, but it is a worthy cause and it must be pursued.

    Why can we never solve this?

    Why must we continue to try to do something which appears to be impossible?


    Why can we never solve this?--

    Because of the way the human mind works, something we are only beginning to understand. Our minds normally make assumptions all the time. We don't take the time to analyze everything we see. We can't. Things happen too quickly for us to think them all out. We see things, we make assumptions about them, we move on. Sometimes those assumptions are incorrect. But until we stop and think about them, we assume they are correct. Problem is, we see way more stuff than we have time to stop and analyze. So most of the time, we simply go with our assumptions. This is normal. It's the way we work. And it happens automatically, as if that part of our mind is on autopilot. This frees up our conscious mind to actively think about whatever it is that is front and center at the moment.

    That means there are a lot of misconceptions about race that are never thought through. This is routine, and cannot be stopped.

    Why must we continue to try to do something which appears to be impossible?--

    We fought the Civil War over the enslavement of blacks. We ended slavery and began reconstruction. But that was beat back down, and the post reconstruction era of Jim Crow ensued.

    Marian Anderson broke the barriers in 1939, but we fought WWII with segregated troops.

    We would like to believe that MLK made a difference.

    That's true. He did. The Democratic Party purged itself of hatred. LBJ signed the Civil Rights Act.

    But hatred is not so easily conquered. Racists merely shifted from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party, the party of Lincoln (amazingly enough, given history.)

    We thought we had made great gains when a black man was elected president.

    But that spurred a huge backlash and resistance, which culminated in Trump being elected president.

    This struggle is ongoing. The meritless hatred slithers and shifts so that each time it surfaces and is beat back down, it pops up somewhere else and the cycle continues.

    Our Justice system incarcerates more blacks than the proportion of blacks in our society.

    Our voting systems cause poor blacks to wait in longer lines to vote, with more impediments placed in their way than affluent whites.

    But despite all of this, gains have been made.

    The cause of seeking racial equality is worthy.
    Last edited by PoliTalker; 08-05-2021 at 07:23 AM.
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    What people do not know is that the movement predated MLK and demonstrations were going on in many American and some European cities. We talk about Mississippi and Arkansas.But they were the end of the demonstrations. They had gone on for a while.

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    Hello Nordberg,

    Quote Originally Posted by Nordberg View Post
    What people do not know is that the movement predated MLK and demonstrations were going on in many American and some European cities. We talk about Mississippi and Arkansas.But they were the end of the demonstrations. They had gone on for a while.
    I know, right?

    I naively thought racism arose with American slavery. Now I see that is not exactly true. I'm certain a lot of American racism did, but that doesn't explain the racism in the rest of the world, and the history of racism predating American slavery.

    I think it has to do with the way the human mind works, the instantaneous assumptions we all naturally make, and how if we don't stop and analyze those assumptions become beliefs.
    Personal Ignore Policy PIP: I like civil discourse. I will give you all the respect in the world if you respect me. Mouth off to me, or express overt racism, you will be PERMANENTLY Ignore Listed. Zero tolerance. No exceptions. I'll never read a word you write, even if quoted by another, nor respond to you, nor participate in your threads. ... Ignore the shallow. Cherish the thoughtful. Long Live Civil Discourse, Mutual Respect, and Good Debate! ps: Feel free to adopt my PIP. It works well.

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