Primary Sources 


Guided Primary Source Discussion Questions 

  • In the 1930s, Marian Anderson experienced discrimination that was allowed under United States laws; but in the 1950s, she traveled to many other countries to represent the United States. After you hear her explain her position in the video, consider: what was this experience like for her? What kinds of thinking might she have used in this situation?
  • Marian Anderson was a classically trained musician: she sang opera excerpts, songs by European composers, and spirituals in classical-style arrangements. Today, the US government still uses music to create relationships with people throughout the world. Now, the main kind of music used is hip hop. (See the Next Level project: ) How might different kinds of music have different uses in diplomatic relations?

Online Resources 

Want more of “The Show Must Go On” series? Click below to view other lessons.

Christopher Smith & Michael Borshuk on Josephine Baker

Bill Deverell on Woody Guthrie’s “This Land” (1940-1945)

Kim Nalley on Nina Simone & “Mississippi Goddamn”

Jacob Remes on the Salem Fire of 1914

Barry Bradford on “South Pacific” and Racism

Jack Hamilton on Jimi Hendrix

Danielle Fosler-Lussier is a Professor of Musicology at The Ohio State University. Fosler-Lussier is the author of two books: Music Divided: Bartók's Legacy in Cold War Culture(University of California Press, 2007); and Music in America’s Cold War Diplomacy (University of California Press, 2015).