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Marian Anderson (February 27, 1897 - April 8, 1993) was an African-American contralto who was denied permission to sing at the DAR Constitution Hall in 1939 by the same organization who built the building: the Daughters of the Constitution(DAR).

Washington, D.C. was segregated at the time and the DAR also had a "white performers only" policy which inhibited Anderson from performing there.

In response, then-First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who was a member of the DAR, immediately resigned her membership with the organization.

Afterwards, the DAR apologized to Miss Anderson and invited her Constitution Hall on several occasions, including, a benefit concert in 1942 for war relief during WWII.

However, the DAR did not officially renege its "white performers only" policy until 1952.

This is evidenced by the organization's exclusion of other black peformers, such as Jazz singer Hazel Scott.

Note: Sol Hurok (Marian Anderson's manager) encountered this issue for the first time in 1936, when he tried to gain permission for Anderson to perform there.

The incident in 1939 was his second try with the help of the NAACP and Howard University.

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Daughters of the American Revolution

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Q: What organization prevented Anderson from singing in Constitution Hall in Washington DC?
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How did Sally Townsend help to thwart Benedict Arnold's efforts to turn West Point over to the British?

Lt. Col. John Graves Simcoe commanding officer of the 40th Regt. of Foot (Queen's Rangers) was quartered at the Townsend Home, Raynham Hall. In the autmumn of 1780 Major John Andre' visited Simcoe who's regiment was to take part in the capture of West Point when Arnold surrendered the post. Supposedly Sally Townsend discovered a clandestine message addressed to "John Anderson" that was left in a corner cupboard and retrieved by Andre'. She also supposedly heard snatches of conversation between Simcoe and Andre' that mentioned West Point. She passed the information along to her brother Robert Townsend who used the code name "Samuel Culper Jr." and along with Abraham Woodhull (Samuel Culper Sr.) was a leader of Washington's most productive spy organization in New York and Long Island, the "Culper Ring." Robert Townsend sent Sally's information including her suspicion that John Andre' was using the nom de guerre, "John Anderson" to Washington and his spy master Benjaimin Tallmadge. That September when Andre' was captured by American stragglers at Tarrytown carrying passes identifying him as John Anderson along with other incriminating documents pertaining to the Arnold plot, Tallmadge recalled the message in which Sally Townsend said that Major Andre' was using the alias "John Anderson" and he immediately made the connection that Andre'/Anderson was somehow involved in a conspiracy with Benedict Arnold. Unfortunately, Arnold was alerted by Lt. Col Jameson to the fact that Andre' had been captured and that Tallmadge and possibly Washington were in the possession of the incriminating documents. Jameson was not aware of the plot and was only informing his commanding officer, Arnold of the events that were transpiring. Arnold was able to escape to the British only hours if not minutes before Washington arrived at his headquarters at Beverly House. It was supposedly Sally Townsend's message that Tallmadge was able to quickly make the connection between "Anderson" and Andre' and then the quick-witted Tallmadge also connected the Arnold documents to begin unravelling the plot.

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