The HistoryMakers Video Oral History With Anne BrownStreaming Video - 2016
Classical singer Anne Wiggins Brown was born on August 9, 1912, in Baltimore, Maryland. Brown attended and graduated from Frederick Douglass High School, and after graduation, Brown auditioned for the Juilliard School, was accepted and became the first African American to win the prestigious Margaret McGill Scholarship. Brown was the first person to play the titular "Bess" in the production of Porgy and Bess on Broadway. Brown persuaded playwright George Gershwin to change the title, originally just Porgy, to Porgy and Bess because of the importance of Brown's role. Brown went on to appear in the Broadway play Mamba's Daughters and in the film Rhapsody in Blue. In 1948, Brown settled in Oslo, Norway where she married her husband, Norwegian Olympic ski jumper, Thorleif Schjelderup. After asthma ended her singing career, she worked as a music teacher and also staged several operas in France and Norway. Brown passed away on March 13, 2009.