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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bust of Sojourner Truth Unveiled at US Capitol

You go, girl!!!! Sojourner Truth became the first African-American woman to be honored with a bust in the US Capitol. On Tuesday, April 28, Sojourner’s bust, created by artist, Artis Lane, was unveiled.

Hillary Clinton said of Sojourner Truth, during the special ceremony to present the bust to the public, that Sojourner " preached against capital punishment, advocated for prison reform, she recruited African American troops for the Union army (during the Civil War), she helped to desegregate the streetcars that ran through Washington, and worked diligently to improve living conditions for freed men and women."

Michelle Obama said,"I hope that Sojourner Truth would be proud to see me, a descendent of slaves, serving as the first lady of the United States of America."

During the unveiling ceremony, actress Cicely Tyson did a reenactment of Sojourner’s famous Ain’t I A Woman speech. Though I did not hear Ms.Tyson, my favorite reading of this speech is by the actress Alfre Woodard. I have read the Ain't I A Woman speech several times, but the Alfre Woodard reading made me feel closer to Sojourner Truth and feel even prouder that I am named after Sojourner.

Sojourner Truth gave her famous speech in May of 1851, at the Ohio's Women Rights Convention. Here is the link to Alfre Woodard reading Ain’t I A Woman.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The 70th Anniversary Of Marian Anderson's Historic Concert at the Lincoln Memorial

Bet you didn’t know that our own Marian Anderson(she’s from South Philly) sung to more than 75,000 people when she gave her landmark concert in 1939, at the Lincoln Memorial. Millions more heard Marian Anderson’s(1897-1993) concert on the radio.

When the Daughters of the American Revolution refused to allow Marian Anderson to perform to at Constitution Hall because of her color, many people, including First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, organized another concert. It was held on Easter Sunday in 1939, in front of the Lincoln Memorial. It was a smashing success!!!!

This year marks the 70th anniversary of this important concert. There are lots of programs and activities around the country to mark this eventful concert. Here are two activities I know you would appreciate and hopefully participate.

Historian Raymond Arsenanult will tell the story of Marian Anderson and her 1939 concert at the Lincoln Memorial. This program will take place on the eve of the 70th anniversary of this concert. This program will take place, Wednesday, April 8, 2009, at 6:30 p.m. , at the National Constitution Center. Clips of the performance will be played during this program. Admission is free, but reservations are required and can be made by calling 215-409-6700. The National Constitution Center is located at 5th and Arch Streets, in Philadelphia, PA.

2. The Marian Anderson Tribute Concert at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC will honor the legacy of Abraham Lincoln and the civil rights movement. The concert will feature world-renowned mezzo-soprano Denyce Graves, the women’s a capella group Sweet Honey in the Rock, the Chicago Children’s Choir, and the U.S. Marine Band. This is one of the signature events of the
Lincoln Bicentennial and is expected to draw a large crowd.

Concert Date: Easter Sunday, April 12, 2009. Time: 3 p.m. Location:
Lincoln Memorial, 23rd Street between Constitution and Independence Avenues, NW

Hope to see you there.