Rudolf Bing achieved great success during twenty-two years of leadership as general manager of the Metropolitan Opera. One accomplishment remains noteworthy for its historical and social significance, and continues to afford him accolades a half-century later: the official elimination of racial restrictions against African American singers at the Met in 1955. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) awarded Bing its Scroll of Honor in 1958 in recognition of the historical importance and impact of his unwavering determination to integrate the Met. This article traces the events leading to Bing's revolutionary transformation of the Met, and to the NAACP's selection of him as an awardee. It captures the social and political climate of America immediately preceding and during the 1950s, and places the Met and its activities within the dynamic context of the era. Using primary source material from the Met archives, the history and chronology of the early integration of the Met is reconstructed and viewed in tandem with the history and chronology of the early-twentieth-century quest for civil rights in America.


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pp. 207-236
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