37¢ Marian Anderson, issued to satisfy the first-class postage rate
Issue Date: January 27, 2005
City: Washington, DC, at Constitution Hall where Anderson was prohibited from performing in 1939 because of her race
Quantity Issued: 150,000,000
Printed By: American Packaging Corporation for Sennett Security Products
Printing Method: Photogravure
Perforations: Serpentine Die Cut 10¾
“The faith and confidence of others in me have been like shining, guiding stars.” – Marian Anderson
Marian Anderson (1897-1993) started singing in her Philadelphia church choir at six years old. Her family, church, and community raised money for her to study voice. When she applied to a music school after high school, she was told, “We don’t take colored,” so she continued to train privately.
Success in a New York Philharmonic Society contest brought public recognition of Anderson’s vocal talent. In 1928, she debuted at Carnegie Hall. The famous conductor Arturo Toscanini praised her operatic voice as one “heard once in a hundred years.”
Anderson is best remembered for her inspiring performance at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., before a crowd of 75,000. That 1939 concert was arranged by Eleanor Roosevelt after the Daughters of the American Revolution barred Anderson from singing in Constitution Hall because of her race.
In 1955, Anderson broke the color barrier at the New York Metropolitan Opera. Marian Anderson overcame poverty and racism to become one of the greatest contraltos of the twentieth century. Hers is the 28th stamp in the Black Heritage Series. You can learn more about the stamp design by visiting the National Postal Museum's article here.