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1990 Census Poster of Marian Anderson

Object Details

Donnell Lewis
Marian Anderson
ink, colored pencil, felt-tip pen on paper
With multicolored border: 34 3/4 × 23 13/16 in. (88.3 × 60.5 cm)
With mat: 40 1/8 × 30 in. (101.9 × 76.2 cm)
Graphic artist Donnell Lewis depicted contralto Marian Anderson in the 1990 census poster because her legacy of challenging discrimination could educate and motivate Americans, promoting widespread census participation. When Anderson was barred from performing at the Daughters of the American Revolution’s Constitution Hall in 1939, she instead held a concert at the Lincoln Memorial, evoked here by the two large columns supporting an American flag. She stands behind four microphones, her hands clasped together and her lips parted in song. The viewer looks up at the elegant contralto, who wears a white hat and dress, admiring her from the crowd below.
Large teal blocks on top and underneath the drawing enabled census officials to add text encouraging Americans to lift their voices like Anderson, answering the call of the census. Purple and yellow sides complete the border of this iconic image.
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Anacostia Community Museum Collection
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Anacostia Community Museum
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