Opinion: Marian Anderson deserves a monument in front of Philadelphia’s Academy of Music

Posted on: November 17, 2020

“Another day, another social media selfie from Philadelphia with the Rocky statue,” writes Peter Dobrin in Saturday’s (11/14) Philadelphia Inquirer. “Our town, though, has more than one way of fighting. With a quiet reserve that belies the enormity of her actions, Marian Anderson spoke most powerfully on behalf of the strange alchemy that defines Philadelphia spirit. Denied a chance to sing in 1939 at Constitution Hall in Washington because of the color of her skin, the contralto from South Philadelphia instead sang in front of the Lincoln Memorial to a crowd many times larger than the one her original recital would have drawn…. While Anderson emerged a hero, her hometown has never given the singer her due with the visibility it deserves…. A newly imagined figure of Marian Anderson, who died in 1993, promises to capture a beneficent spirit…. It’s also important that any sculpture or monument express something about music…. To me, that makes the case for siting the sculpture in front of the Academy of Music…. I do love the mural of Anderson at the South Philadelphia recreation center named for her. But it’s not enough. She deserves a place of honor in the middle of town.”