One Life: Marian Anderson

June 28, 2019 - May 17, 2020

“One Life: Marian Anderson” shifts the attention from Anderson’s historic 1939 performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to underexplored moments in the contralto’s career. The exhibition examines the ways artists, concert promoters and others wielded her iconic likeness as a powerful symbol in the pursuit of civil rights. The paintings, photographs, personal effects, and archival materials provide a more nuanced understanding of how Anderson’s many roles, as singer, diplomat, and muse, helped shatter segregationist policies on and off the stage. Leslie Ureña, the National Portrait Gallery’s associate curator of photographs, is the curator of the exhibition.