Marian Anderson Critical Context - Essay

Critical Context

In the 1960’s, Newman wrote several works for a juvenile readership, including the Look, Read, Learn books About the People Who Run Your City (1963) and About Canals (1964). She published collections of folk tales from Japan and from Latin America, and she produced young adult biographies about Hawaiian queen Liliuokalani, actresses Mary Martin and Ethel Barrymore, and American president Lyndon B. Johnson. Newman’s Marian Anderson adds to this list of influential leaders and artists.

Among the books that have been written about famous African Americans for a young audience, this book is among the more realistic, well-documented, and attractive. Newman is very honest in her account of widespread racism in the United States. Moreover, the author points out how Anderson, like some other American artists, was forced to go to Europe, where audiences were more likely to appreciate her abilities even though she was African American. In her study of Anderson, Newman also shows how changes came to American society with regard to race relations and how one individual’s talent and determination enabled her to overcome obstacles and discrimination. This type of historical context is valuable to a young reader, as is the example set by Anderson herself. Throughout her life, she kept her composure and remained a true lady.