My Lord, What a Morning Essay - Critical Context

Marian Anderson

Critical Context

Initially intended for an adult audience, My Lord, What a Morning nevertheless offers much for young adult readers. It is easily readable and provides an excellent model for students, who will find that courage and determination do make a difference in one’s life. Struggling to further her career in the midst of racial prejudice, Anderson, like Martin Luther King, Jr., achieved prominence without militancy. On tour, for example, when hotels would make exceptions to admit her, she writes, “I go into the hotel not with triumph but out of necessity. I try to leave behind a conviction that their attitudes were not based on knowledge. if they discover that they are wrong about an individual they will begin to realize that their judgment of a group is equally fallacious.”

This attitude gives further insight into Anderson’s intentions in writing her autobiography. She did not want her story read as her personal triumph over segregation. Instead, she wanted those who had helped and encouraged her and those who enabled her to achieve her goals to know of her love and appreciation. Given her experiences with segregation, in those unenlightened years in American history, it remains quite remarkable that her tone and diction convey no malice for the many injustices that she encountered. On the contrary, Anderson recounts her climb to stardom in positive terms.

For young adult readers, My Lord, What a Morning focuses on the human spirit that will not allow defeat, gives accurate facts, and avoids making its subject too good to be true. Anderson’s in-depth discussion of the events and people who helped shape her career will offer insight and inspiration.

By living and working as she did, Anderson earned a prominent place in the history of classical music performers. Coming from poverty and virtual obscurity at a time when few opportunities were offered to African Americans, she paved the way for others to follow. She moved step by step from the choir loft to center stage at the Metropolitan Opera to establish herself as an outstanding artist.