‘Of thee I sing:’ A tribute to a 20th-century great

BY newsdesk  April 9, 2014 at 6:42 PM EST

D.C. 4th-grade student Sky Jabali-Rainey dressed as Marian Anderson on Wednesday for an event commemorating the African-American singer's 1939 performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. #onassignment for @newshour #washingtondc #vscocam #vsco

Instagram photo by PBS NewsHour reporter and producer Joshua Barajas

Sky Jabali-Rainey, a 4th-grade student from Washington, D.C., dressed as contralto Marian Anderson Wednesday for an event commemorating the African-American singer’s April 9, 1939, performance on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

Anderson had been invited to sing in Washington 75 years ago by Howard University. With a large audience expected given her international reputation, the university originally wanted to host her at the Daughters of the American Revolution hall, but she was barred from performing there because of her race. So she instead sang outdoors at the Lincoln Memorial, beginning with “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee” to a crowd of 75,000.

On the NewsHour Wednesday, we take a look at youth who are commemorating Anderson’s legacy on the 75th anniversary of her performance at the Lincoln Memorial.