DAR President General Presley Merritt Wagoner
Marian Anderson Commemorative Stamp Dedication Ceremony
January 27, 2005
WASHINGTON, D.C. - I am truly honored to be here today representing the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution on this historic occasion which commemorates in a most visible manner the life of such an extraordinary and inspirational woman. On behalf of the 170,000 DAR members across the country and worldwide, it is my pleasure to welcome you to DAR National Headquarters for the dedication ceremony of the Marian Anderson commemorative stamp. In particular, I want to thank the United States Postal Service and Ms. Anderson's family for inviting the DAR to participate with them in this special recognition.
It is most fitting that we gather in Memorial Continental Hall at Constitution Hall, the place which historically represents a sad chapter in our country's history and in the history of DAR. We deeply regret that Marian Anderson was not given the opportunity to perform her 1939 Easter concert in Constitution Hall but recognize that in the positive sense the event was a pivotal point in the struggle for racial equality.
Ms. Anderson's legendary concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial will always be remembered as a milestone in the Civil Rights movement. The beauty of her voice, amplified by her courage and grace, brought attention to the eloquence of the many voices urging our nation to overcome prejudice and intolerance. It sparked change not only in America but also in the DAR.
I stand before you today wishing that history could be re-written, knowing that it cannot, and assuring you that DAR has learned from the past.
DAR was proud to welcome Marian Anderson to Constitution Hall on a number of occasions soon after 1939, including a benefit concert for war relief in 1942. It is also meaningful to us that this notable American chose Constitution Hall as the place where she would launch her farewell American tour in 1964.
And today, the DAR is especially honored to be able to participate in the celebration of Marian Anderson's legacy with the issuance of this new commemorative stamp.
We are very happy to welcome the Deputy Postmaster General John Nolan, the members of Ms. Anderson's family, and all of the other distinguished guests with us today for this special occasion.
On this day we celebrate the life, the talent and the legacy of Marian Anderson. America is a better place because of her dreams and her sacrifices. As a nation, we can be grateful that she opened so many doors for all those who follow; and, as an organization, the DAR is genuinely pleased to pay tribute to her memory.