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Today in History: The New York Opera hires its first black singer

In 1954, the New York Metropolitan Opera hired Marian Anderson, making her the first black singer to work for the company.

Three months later, she debuted in Verdi‘s Un ballo en maschera. The performance went well, according to NPR:

Anderson later said she felt the pressure of that first performance: “I was there onstage, mixing the witch’s brew. I trembled, and when the audience applauded and applauded before I could sing a note, I felt myself tightening into a knot.” Despite her nerves, and that she was in the twilight of her career, the performance received a huge ovation.

Elsewhere in October 7ths past? Allen Ginsberg read his poem “Howl” for the first time and inspired a new generation of the best minds to get weird with their creative endeavors. And in 1968, the MPAA adopted a rating system for movies.

Find out what else October 7 has added to history (it’s a lot!) in the video above and watch more Today in History videos on Timeline.

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