“The civil rights movement did not suddenly erupt in the late 1950s. Generations of African-Americans had been asserting their right to equality but the nation was not ready to listen. By so effectively symbolizing our nation’s dedication to justice and fairness, the Mall provided a powerful tableau on which the struggle would be played out.

In 1939, the great contralto Marian Anderson was barred from performing at Constitution Hall, owned by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the DAR in protest and supported the NAACP [National Association for the Advancement of Colored People] as it organized an Easter Sunday concert on the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial. More than 75,000 Americans turned out, one of the largest crowds ever to gather on the Mall on that time.” (see more)

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