Eleanor Roosevelt Resigns from the DAR — Today in History

In February 1939, Howard University invited Marian Anderson, the internationally famous African American contralto singer to give a concert. They asked the Washington Headquartered Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) if they could use their auditorium, Constitution Hall.

The DAR refused, explaining that local conditions and custom did not favor such a move.   In protest, DAR member and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt resigned from the organization.

A Gallup poll taken at the time showed that 67% of the public approved of her action.

Moving quickly to capitalize on this public support, Anderson’s manager Sol Hurok proposed that Anderson give an open-air concert at the Lincoln Memorial. Harold Ickes, the Secretary of the Interior promptly approved the idea and on April 9th a crowd of 75,000 people assembled before the Lincoln Memorial to hear Ms. Anderson sing.

Above is a copy of Mrs. Roosevelt’s DAR resignation letter, 2/26/39.  Read More

-from the FDR Library