Camilla Williams has passed way at the age of 92. A trailblazing soprano, Williams was the first African American to receive a regular contract with a major American opera company. She debuted with the New York City Opera nearly nine years before Marian Anderson became the first African-American singer to perform at the Metropolitan Opera. In 1963, Williams sang the U.S. National Anthem to a crowd of 200,000 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., right before Martin Luther King delivered his iconic I Have a Dream speech.
Listen to her beautiful voice here, in this recording from 1952.