Thursday, March 26, 2015

Marian Anderson: A Voice Uplifted by Victoria Garrett Jones

Why was vocal artist Marian Anderson awarded the United Nations Peace Prize?  Why did she receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom?  Victoria Garrett Jones leads the curious reader through Anderson’s life beginning with her birth in 1897, and filling the reader in on social and historical context through page-length features on topics like “Spirituals”, “Black Jews” (Anderson’s grandfather identified as such), Anderson’s packing habits (she sometimes traveled with more than twenty-five pieces of luggage at a time!) and key figures in her life and times.  The neat layout, ample white space, and well-selected accompanying images make this volume a strong selection for less-sophisticated older readers.  Helpful front matter includes a timeline of Anderson’s life and backmatter includes a glossary, a bibliography, and an index.  Readers with an interest in American history, black history, civil rights, and music will find much to appreciate.  Patrons requesting a true rags-to-riches story need look no further. --Jessica Fenster-Sparber

Jones, Victoria Garrett.  Marian Anderson: A Voice Uplifted.  New York: Sterling, 2008.

Click here for a calendar-based activity which invites students to write a public letter regarding their feelings on a present-day social injustice.   Within the lesson, students may read Eleanor Roosevelt’s letter of resignation to the Daughters of the American Revolution upon learning that they would not permit Marian Anderson to perform in Constitution Hall  (an image of Roosevelt’s letter is printed in Jones’ book on page 74.)

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