Voice of Freedom | American Experience | Watch & Wonder Weekly Highlight

Tuesday, January 16, 1 PM

For next week’s Watch & Wonder Highlight, we’re thrilled to feature Voice of Freedom | American Experience. After watching, dive deeper with resources about the life and enduring legacy of famed singer Marian Anderson on PBS LearningMedia.

On Easter Sunday, 1939, contralto Marian Anderson stepped up to a microphone in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Inscribed on the walls of the monument behind her were the words “all men are created equal.” Barred from performing in Constitution Hall because of her race, Anderson would sing for the American people in the open air. Hailed as a voice that “comes around once in a hundred years” by maestros in Europe and widely celebrated by both white and black audiences at home, her fame hadn’t been enough to spare her from the indignities and outright violence of racism and segregation. Voice of Freedom interweaves Anderson’s rich life story with this landmark moment in history, exploring fundamental questions about talent, race, fame, democracy, and the American soul.

PBS LearningMedia

Marian Anderson’s Historic Concert at the Lincoln Memorial | Voice of Freedom

Grades 9-12
Learn how famed singer Marian Anderson was barred from singing at Constitution Hall in 1939, despite being dubbed the “Voice of the Century,” because of her race in these clips adapted from Voice of Freedom|AMERICAN EXPERIENCE. Her performance at an alternate venue, the Lincoln Memorial, was attended by tens of thousands and represented the struggle for racial equality in the United States.

In school or at home, take advantage of the Watch & Wonder broadcast schedule. Running each weekday from 1-3 PM, Watch & Wonder is great for classroom viewing, distance instruction, and families looking to spend some extra, quality time together. Featured programs are ideal for kids in grades 6-12, encouraging creativity with the arts, kick starting innovation through STEM, and expanding their horizons with stories from across the globe!

Each week, we’ll highlight a show from our Watch & Wonder block, and share a PBS LearningMedia resource — suitable for middle and high school students. Follow along on the Watch & Wonder Schedule page, or subscribe to our newsletter!