"Once in a Hundred Years" The Life & Legacy of Marian Anderson
As Americans, most of us have seen the pictures and heard the stories of the American civil rights movement. We know about Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglas, Rosa Parks and Jackie Robinson. We know the events of Selma and Montgomery and the stories of Dr. King and Malcolm X.
But there is one great American story too many of us have never been told. That of young girl from South Philadelphia who, armed with only a voice, fought to break down one of the most daunting barriers closed to black Americans in the 1930s—the classical music stage. After an epic struggle, she declared victory at the Lincoln Memorial where she sang to one of the largest crowds ever assembled in a landmark concert in 1939.
That story is the subject of "Once in a Hundred Years" The Life & Legacy of Marian Anderson produced by Philadelphia’s Going The Distance Films.
Directed by Bill Nicoletti, the film traces the arc of Anderson’s life. Her struggles against racism and poverty. Her drive to educate herself, mastering not just the complexities of the classical repertoire, but the German, Italian and French vocabularies required to sing those scores with conviction. And it culminates with her battle against the Daughters of the American Revolution to stage a public concert in Washington, D.C. A battle that would be won with the assistance of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.