The Sound of Freedom by Raymond Arsenault
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Marian Anderson, the celebrated contralto of the twentieth century was a pioneer in the Civil Rights movement and best known for her historic concert on Easter Sunday, April 9, 1939, in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Anderson, an NAACP Spingarn Medal recipient, had hoped to hold her concert at the DAR's Constitution Hall in Washington, DC but was denied by the women's organization due to her race. In 1939, the southern United States was still very segregated and held to Jim Crow laws. The focus of Arsenault's book is the history of the events leading up to the concert, the DAR's controversial decision, and the subsequent fallout.
Throughout her life, Marian Anderson stood proudly and conducted herself as a strong, yet humble woman. Her actions and reactions to the discrimination she faced throughout her career, particularly with the DAR's decision showed that she was worthy of the many accolades she received during her lifetime. Arsenault does an excellent job of covering Anderson's history while zoning in on the specifics of the concert that seemed to be a defining moment for Anderson and the Civil Rights movement pre-WWII. Part biography, part micro-history of that historic event, The Sound of Freedom is a must read. It gives the reader a different perspective of the Civil Rights movement through a specific event while celebrating the life of the iconic singer.
Marian Anderson - April 9, 1939 - The Lincoln Memorial Concert
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