Contralto Marian Anderson makes her Carnegie Hall recital debut on December 30.

Her performance takes place almost 11 years before she was famously barred in 1939 from performing at Constitution Hall in Washington, DC, and 26 years before she became the first African American to perform with the Metropolitan Opera.

Following the Constitution Hall incident, which led to her legendary performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial before 75,000 people, Anderson refused to perform in segregated theaters. With her dignified yet firm manner, she helped shatter racial barriers, leading the way for many African American performers who followed her.

Anderson, who possessed “a voice such as one hears only once in a hundred years” according to conductor Arturo Toscanini, performed at Carnegie Hall more than 50 times before her farewell recital in 1965. She was a member of the first board of directors of the Carnegie Hall Corporation, serving as Vice President from 1960 to 1966.

Marian Anderson died in 1993 at the age of 96.

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