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Marian Anderson (1897 - 1993)

Marian Anderson was born into a devoutly Christian family. Her aunt Mary quickly noticed her musical talent, suggesting that she join the choir of the Baptist church attended by the Andersons and taking her to many musical events: she was later credited by Marian with being the primary influence in her choosing to pursue a career as a singer. Despite the early death of her father and lack of money Marian sang and studied wherever she could, until members of the black community banded together to raise sufficient funds for her to have singing lessons and to attend high school, from which she graduated in 1921. Despite rejection from the Philadelphia Music Academy because of her race, the support of her community enabled her to continue her music studies with Giuseppe Boghetti and Agnes Reifsnyder. In 1925 she won a singing competition sponsored by the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, the prize of which was a concert with the orchestra. As a result Arthur Judson, the orchestra’s manager, became her personal manager while she continued to study music with Frank La Forge.



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