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***The Voice that Challenged a Nation

Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights

by Russell Freedman

Reviewed June 5, 2004.
Clarion Books, New York, 2004.  114 pages.
A 2004 Horn Book Fanfare selection.

I was already interested in Marian Anderson’s inspiring story by reading the picture book When Marian Sang, by Pam Munoz Ryan.  Russell Freedman’s book about Marian Anderson fleshes out the details of that story.

The Voice That Challenged a Nation tells about Marian Anderson’s life for older readers.  It includes many photographs and goes into detail about her struggle to get voice training and then her great triumphs as a singer.

Marian Anderson sang before kings and queens in Europe, but wasn’t allowed to sing in Constitution Hall in Washington, D. C., because she was black.  Eleanor Roosevelt took up her cause, and she ended up singing a free concert at the Lincoln Memorial to 75,000 people.

Marian Anderson didn’t like to make a fuss and didn’t look for controversy.  She only loved to sing.  But her “once in a hundred years” voice opened doors for other black performers and challenged the nation to think again about racism.

This book is the well-written story of a fascinating life.

Review of another book by Russell Freedman:
Confucius:  The Golden Rule

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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