Fri Apr 6, 2012, 12:18 AM
goclark (30,404 posts)
I just set my tv to record this great film introduced by My President - Barack Obama
I grew up in segregated Maryland and as a "Colored" little girl I could not sit on the first floor of the theater, we had to sit in the balcony.
Can't remember the year exactly, I think it was the early/mid 50's that it changed but it was a big event for my People. We were finally "allowed" to sit on the main floor.
During those segregated times, our Colored teachers asked all the children in the Colored Elementary Schools to write an essay about Marion Anderson. She was going to perform in a White Theater Downtown. Negroes were not able to sit anywhere in that location.
Guess what ---- I WON the Contest!
My grandmother surprised me with a beautiful blue dress, new patent leather shoes and a little blue purse to match my dress. Friends and neighbors from miles around came to wave goodbye to us! It was a grand occasion, just extra special for the Colored community that evening!
When we arrived, we were not taken to seats, they escorted us Backstage. I could tell by the look on my mother's face that she was upset but she held my hand and told me that I looked pretty and told me how proud and happy she was to be the mother of the Poet.
Back stage we were given chairs and in a few minutes ~ there she was -- the majestic Marion Anderson smiling and warmly greeting us. She asked me to say my Poem and of course I was happy to do it. People backstage gathered around and clapped for me. I loved every minute of the attention.
What I didn't realize until years later was that Marion Anderson must have arranged the whole thing! If they wouldn't let us sit in the audience then she would give us the best seats in the House ~ As she received wild applause from the audience, she walked gracefully off stage and enjoyed watching me with Mom clap big big claps for her. She threw me a majestic kiss and I threw one back to her ~ it was some enchanting evening.
I realized years later that not only did we have the best seats in the house -- she was making a statement that the next time she performed there, Colored people needed to sit out front.
Every time I walk in a theater and take my seat down front, I think of the time that I met the Great Marion Anderson.
I am so proud that we made History that evening.
Can't we all get along? ~ Rodney King
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