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HomeVideoRed Summer | Voice of Freedom | American Experience | PBS

Red Summer | Voice of Freedom | American Experience | PBS

The summer of 1919 – Red Summer – is the crest of one of the most vicious years in American history. In Chicago, like many cities across the country, tensions were building. That July, in Chicago, fourteen-year-old Eugene Williams was killed when his raft drifted into the white section of the 29th Street Beach.

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On Easter Sunday, 1939, contralto Marian Anderson stepped up to a microphone in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Inscribed on the walls of the monument behind her were the words “all men are created equal.” Barred from performing in Constitution Hall because of her race, Anderson would sing for the American people in the open air. Hailed as a voice that “comes around once in a hundred years” by maestros in Europe and widely celebrated by both white and black audiences at home, her fame hadn’t been enough to spare her from the indignities and outright violence of racism and segregation. Voice of Freedom interweaves Anderson’s rich life story with this landmark moment in history, exploring fundamental questions about talent, race, fame, democracy, and the American soul. #MarianAndersonPBS