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My Lord, What a Morning: An Autobiography (Music in American Life)

My Lord, What a Morning: An Autobiography (Music in American Life)

Current price: $19.95
Publication Date: February 19th, 2002
University of Illinois Press


My Lord, What a Morning is a gentle and engrossing memoir, abounding with the tender and inspiring stories of Marian Anderson's life in her own modest words. From her humble but proud beginnings in south Philadelphia to international vocal renown, the legendary contralto writes of triumph and adversity, of being grounded in faith and surrounded by family, and of the music that shaped her career. 

Anderson published My Lord, What a Morning in 1956 on the heels of her groundbreaking role as the first African American to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. In it are bittersweet reminiscences of a working-class childhood, from her first job scrubbing the neighbors' steps to the sorrow and upheaval of her father's untimely death. Here are the stories of a young girl with prodigious talent and her warm remembrances of the teachers, managers, friends, accompanists, and fans who worked to foster it. In addition, she provides a veritable travelogue of her concerts across the globe and rare glimpses at the personal life of a woman more concerned with family than celebrity. 

With eleven photographs and a touching new foreword by Anderson's nephew, famed conductor and poet James DePreist, this edition of My Lord, What a Morning revives the classic portrait of a musical legend who was resilient in the bullying face of bigotry and gracious in the unfaltering glow of fame.

About the Author

Marian Anderson (1897-1993) was an internationally renowned contralto and an icon in the civil rights movement. James DePreist (1936-2013) was Music Director of the Oregon Symphony and regularly performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony, and the New York Philharmonic. He was a recipient of the National Medal of Arts and authored two collections of poetry.

Praise for My Lord, What a Morning: An Autobiography (Music in American Life)

"Anderson focuses on her musical growth and long career, including the notorious refusal in 1939 by the Daughters of the American Revolution to allow her to perform at Constitution Hall in Washington."--New York Times Book Review

"Anderson's narrative, written with crisp, technically flawless language, is autobiography in its purest form: an examination of one's life at a macro-level, effectually treating life experiences as a serial compilation. . . . Anderson . . . in merely doing that which she did best with dignity and grace, became the quintessential accidental revolutionary. . . . Anderson's book is extraordinarily important and is a necessary addition to every American's library."--Danielle K. Little, Quarterly Black Review

"An important and inspiring book."--Mark Schubart, New York Times

"There is a quiet beauty in this retiring, almost dutiful reminiscence of a life. Marian Anderson tells her story with the simplicity and dignity and graciousness people have come to associate with her."--Kirkus Reviews