“I Stood on De Ribber Ob Jerdon”: Marian Anderson

During a career which spanned forty years, the American contralto Marian Anderson (1897-1993) performed at major concert venues which included the Metropolitan Opera. Her repertoire included opera, lieder, and African American spirituals.

In 1939, when segregation prevented her from singing at Constitution Hall in Washington D.C., Anderson performed at an open air Easter Sunday concert on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, which was organized with the assistance of Eleanor Roosevelt. The integrated audience of 75,000 was joined by radio listeners across the country. Anderson went on to perform at the presidential inaugurations of Dwight D. Eisenhower (in 1957) and John F. Kennedy (in 1962). During the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, she gave an iconic performance on the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

Kennedy and King became martyrs, joined soon after by Robert F. Kennedy and Malcolm X. Kennedy attempted to make peace with the Soviets through backchannel negotiations, fight the scourge of colonialism and “secret societies,” and navigate the country away from an impending war in Vietnam. King, also staunchly antiwar, dreamed of a society in which we would be judged by the content of our character rather than the color of our skin.

Here is Marian Anderson’s recording of the spiritual, I Stood on De Ribber Ob Jerdon:

Fear is a disease that eats away at logic and makes man inhuman.

– Marian Anderson


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Featured Image: photograph by Yousuf Karsh

About Timothy Judd

A native of Upstate New York, Timothy Judd has been a member of the Richmond Symphony violin section since 2001. He is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music where he earned the degrees Bachelor of Music and Master of Music, studying with world renowned Ukrainian-American violinist Oleh Krysa.

The son of public school music educators, Timothy Judd began violin lessons at the age of four through Eastman’s Community Education Division. He was a student of Anastasia Jempelis, one of the earliest champions of the Suzuki method in the United States.

A passionate teacher, Mr. Judd has maintained a private violin studio in the Richmond area since 2002 and has been active coaching chamber music and numerous youth orchestra sectionals.

In his free time, Timothy Judd enjoys working out with Richmond’s popular SEAL Team Physical Training program.

2 thoughts on ““I Stood on De Ribber Ob Jerdon”: Marian Anderson”

  1. In her prime, Marian Anderson proved herself to be one of, if not the greatest contraltos of all time. Her Brahms’ Alto Rhapsody is breathtaking, and her delivery of spirituals remains without peer!


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