One Life: Marian Anderson

Marian Anderson and Leonard Bernstein ©Ruth Orkin/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

June 28, 2019 – March 13, 2020
National Portrait Gallery
8th and G Streets, NW
Washington, DC
1st Floor, E-141

One Life: Marian Anderson shifts the attention from Anderson’s historic 1939 performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to underexplored moments in the contralto’s career. The exhibition examines the ways artists, concert promoters, and others wielded her iconic likeness as a powerful symbol in the pursuit of civil rights. The paintings, photographs, personal effects, and archival materials provide a more nuanced understanding of how Anderson’s many roles, as singer, diplomat, and muse, helped shatter segregationist policies on and off the stage.