Monday, February 25, 2008

Eleanor Roosevelt Resigns From Daughters of the American Revolution

In 1936, African American singer/songwriter Marian Anderson was invited to sing at the White House by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Roosevelt, a long time supporter of Civil Rights, hoped that the invitation might alleviate some of the racial tensions of her day. Aside from her performance at the White House, Mrs. Anderson was booked to perform at Constitution Hall that same week.

Unfortunately, the racism of the day prevailed, and Marian Anderson was not granted access to Constitution Hall. Part of the reason for the denial was a 1932 rule adopted by the Daughters of the American Revolution, which stated that no person of color could perform at Constitution Hall. First Lady Roosevelt, who was an active member of the organization, immediately resigned out of protests. Needless to say, the resignation of a person of Roosevelt's stature did not go unnoticed, and the organization changed its rules shortly thereafter.

Here is an interesting article regarding the Marian Anderson saga and Eleanor Roosevelt's resignation from the Daughters of the American Revolution.


Brad said...

Very interesting article. I've always maintained that E. Roosevelt was the greatest First Lady we have ever seen.

David Mabry said...

I will not look at my local DAr chapter the same way again. Thanks for posting this Linsey, I was not aware of E. Roosevelt's resignation of membership.

Charlotte said...

David, don't let something that occurred in 1936 affect your thinking about DAR. The organization is always changing in many ways. They promote patriotism (not to be confused with "political"), encourage the education of our children as well as the learning of our country's history. These are the most important things about DAR.

Diane Krizek said...

Yes, Charlotte, 1936 was a long time ago and thankfully the DAR has changed with the times. They now have a Forgotten Patriots project that focuses on the important contributions made by African American and American Indian patriots of the American Revolution.