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The Lincoln Memorial Is 100 Years Old. Here’s How to Celebrate It.

The National Park Service and its partners have been hosting events around the city all month.

Photograph by Chip Griffin/Flickr.

In 1939, singer Marian Anderson performed on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for a crowd of over 75,000 after she was not allowed to sing at Constitution Hall because she was Black. In 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech on the very same steps to some 250,000 people.

The Lincoln Memorial has been the site of many historic moments. A symbol of civil rights, peace, and equality, the monument to the 16th president sees millions flock to it annually. This month marks 100 years since its dedication on May 30, 1922, and the National Park Service has been holding events to mark the occasion. With a few weeks left until its centennial, here is a list of upcoming celebrations:

May 19: Treasures of the Library of Congress
See some of the greatest artifacts and objects related to the memorial in the library’s Great Hall on May 19, from 5 to 8 p.m. The event is free, but guests must sign up for a timed-entry pass in order to visit. Passes can be found here.

May 22: Lincoln Memorial Centennial Celebration
Join the National Park Service and The Lincoln Group of DC at 10 a.m. at the monument on May 22 for “Building on Lincoln’s Vision of Unity and Equality” ceremony. According to the National Park Service website, participants will include Lincoln historian Harold Holzer; Lincoln scholar Dr. Edna Greene Medford, from Howard University; Dr. Charlotte Morris, president of Tuskegee University; and actor Steven Lang of Gettysburg fame. The United States Marine Quintet and singer/actress Felicia Curry, who played Marian Anderson at the Ford’s Theatre production of My Lord, What a Night, will also perform.

May 28: the Lincoln Memorial and Civil Rights
At 11 a.m. on May 28, meet with a park ranger at the memorial to learn about the evolution of its meaning—from its original design honoring Lincoln to becoming a symbol for civil rights.

Anytime: Virtual Tours and Education
If you want to celebrate at home, the park service website has lots of reading material on the memorial, including a page on the symbolism behind its design and one detailing the monument’s many myths—such as the false conspiracy that Lincoln is buried under his own statue in a very National Treasure-hidden-compartment sort of way. The National Archives also has thousands of records on the monument that are open to viewing.

On YouTube, you can watch a recording of park service ranger Jennifer Epstein’s virtual tour and discussion of the Lincoln Memorial, put on by Prince George’s County Memorial Library System on May 4:

You can also scroll through social media for #LincolnMemorialMoment, a challenge put out by the park service asking people to share their own special memories and moments with the memorial.

Tori Bergel
Editorial Fellow
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