Journal Entry 7: Marian Anderson

Welcome back and thanks for continuing in our historical journey!
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Seventh Stop: Marian Anderson!

We went to see the Rocky play which was great because he didn’t even know I was from Philadelphia. Born and raised! I still love the city but New York, specifically Brooklyn is my home now.

Unlike the time when he stole my book, he was a complete gentleman. We ate dinner and dessert after the play and he grabbed a cab and escorted me to my apartment in Bed-Stuy. The two of us exchanged numbers and agreed to meet at the bookstore just like we did after work for the past six days.

If I had to be totally honest, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to stop our rendezvous. Not just with Jared but David as well. Even Candace, Kane, and Dyna started to become more like friends. There had been another couple that seemed to be close to Kane and Dyna. I think their names were Mel and Tyler. He was hot and she had an exotic flair about her. It suited her, though.

When I walked into the bookstore, David and Jared were deep in conversation.

“Hey Guys,” I interrupted them.

“Oh hey, suga.” David smiled. “Good to see you.”

“Hey.” Jared smiled and stood up to greet me. “You look beautiful.”

He leaned in to kiss me on the cheek. It seemed innocent, but his hand on my lower back was special. Last night he made no moves to do anything but today, his touch seemed a bit possessive.

“Y’all ready?” David always had a tendency to interrupt us.

“Yes,” we both said in unison.

“Good. Let’s ride.”

******

A man hung up the phone and looked at the pretty woman, then said, “Marian, there are no more spaces available.” He shook his head, then with his eyebrows pulled together, he repeated, “No more spaces?”

“No more?” She mimicked.

They both sat and looked at each other with confusion embedded in their faces.

“That can’t be,” she said. “I have it on good authority that there were over a dozen days available.”

“Same here.” The man shook his head again.

“Call Tony. He’ll know. He does their bookings.” The woman offered.

“Good idea.”

“Wait, you’re saying that there are more than fifteen places available at Constitution Hall.” The man repeated. “Am I hearing you correctly?”

He nodded his head and turned towards the woman.

“Okay. Thank you, Tony.” The man wrote something down. “It’s not your fault. You did nothing wrong. It’s just sad to see some things never change.”

Once he hung up the phone, he dialed four to five numbers and said something along these lines, “DC’s Constitution Hall has lied about their space and days, hence denying Marian Anderson from performing because she is black. The Daughters of the American Revolution has rejected her presence due to a policy only allowing white performers.”

We were transported to another small office with the same man and woman sitting at a desk with newspapers that read, Protest on DAR ban Against Singer Grow and others. The word must have spread and caused a major uproar. The phone rang and both of them went stark still.

“Answer it,” she whispered.

The man slowly picked up the phone and answered, “Hello?”

“Yes…yes…she’d love too. Thank you so much. Please send my warmest regards…You are welcome.”

He replaced the receiver on the phone and turned towards her. Then he said, “Marian, you have been cordially invited to sing at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday. It will be televised to over 75,000 folks. This was from Madam Eleanor Roosevelt.”

“Whaa…” She gasped.

Tears started to roll down her beautiful face as it hit her actually had happened. The President of the United States’ wife had invited her to sing which trumped singing at Constitution Hall.

“Madam Roosevelt was flabbergasted and decided to do something about it,” the man continued.

She shook her head and continued to cry.

“Woman, wipe those tears. This is happening.”

She burst into laughter as the scene ended before us.

******

“David,” I said. “I really liked this one today. I feel like I could relate to a certain extent.”

“Yeah?” He perked up.

“Yes.” I nodded. “At my job, they aren’t racist, but I’m not amongst the ‘in crowd.’ Though I usually work ten hours a day and go above and beyond my job description. I’m usually excluded for promotions and other incentives. Then I received a call from corporate talking about how my work had surfed and came across their desk and they want to offer me a job. This would get me from under them and in actuality, I’d be their bosses. I’m still in awe.”

“Wow,” Jared beamed. “That is incredible news.”

“Thanks.” I nodded.

“Sounds just like Marian Anderson, Toni. It’s crazy because she later received a Grammy for her lifetime achievement awards. The woman’s voice was simply magical and she continued to be recognized by many. She sang at JFK’s inauguration and she was honored by Kennedy with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The woman left such a legacy, just like I know you will.”

I smiled at him. He was so kind.

“Thanks, David.”

“So, can I take you out to celebrate your win,” Jared asked me.

“Oh, it’s no big deal.”

“Oh, yes it is. This should be celebrated.” Jared intertwined his arm with mine. “Come on, make my day.”

“If you insist.” I smiled.

“You guys have a good one,” David called after us.

Then Jared turned and said, “Hey David, can we bring a friend along on these journeys?”

“Of course. The more, the merrier.”

“Great, see you tomorrow.”

******

Thank you for experiencing Marian Anderson with us! We hope you stay tuned as we continue to explore various figures during this month and that you’ll take this snippet and learn more about Ms. Anderson and her contribution to the musical world.

 

What’s next?

Day 8:

  • How do you think Toni’s and Jared’s second date will go?
  • Experience the next historical figure, Booker T. Washington, founding the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, now known as Tuskegee University.
  • Find out who Day 9 will feature

 

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