Department Of Interior

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Office of the Secretary
Contact: John Wright
For Immediate Release: Feb 23, 2004


Secretary Norton to Designate Historic Piano in
Observance of African American History Month


WASHINGTON - As part of the department's observance of African American History Month, Secretary of the Interior Gale A. Norton will confer a special designation for a historic piano that was purchased on April 14, 1937, while Harold L. Ickes was secretary and Franklin D. Roosevelt served as president.

The piano was used for the historic evening concert of Ms. Marian Anderson, a prominent African American opera singer. The concert was held in the Interior Department's auditorium [now the SidneyYates Auditorium]. History shows that the 7 p.m. performance was attended by President and Ms. Roosevelt; Secretary Ickes; Mordecai Johnson, president of Howard University; Walter Francis White, chairman of the NAACP; members of Congress and cabinet officials.

The national theme for this year's African American History observance is "The Souls of Black Folk: Centennial Reflections." The program will feature an overview of African American History and the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education by Assistant Secretary Craig Manson, followed by a presentation titled "Yosemite Through the Eyes of a Buffalo Soldier, 1904," by Shelton Johnson, interpretive park ranger.

WHO: Craig Manson, assistant secretary of the Interior for Fish, Wildlife and Parks
Lynn Scarlett, assistant secretary of the Interior for Policy, Management and Budget
Fran Mainella, director of the National Park Service
Henry Steinway and Leo Spellman, Steinway and Sons, New York City.

WHAT: African American History Month Observance Program/Historic Dedication.

WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2004, at 10 a.m.

WHERE: U.S. Department of the Interior
1849 C Street
Sidney Yates Auditorium


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