By David J. Kent
Wednesday, August 25, 2021
The iconic Lincoln Memorial turns 100 in 2022, and the Lincoln Group of DC is planning a major centennial commemoration. It's still about nine months away, but it's not too early to put the event on your calendar for May 2022.
As many of you know, the Lincoln Group previously coordinated with the National Park Service to organize an event commemorating the sesquicentennial of Lincoln's second inauguration. The event was held on the steps of the Memorial on the National Mall. We are planning a similar event for May 30, 2022 (although that date might move up a week because of the Memorial Day holiday).
The goal is commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Memorial’s dedication by highlighting the full range of meaning behind the Lincoln Memorial. This includes the building as a memorial to Abraham Lincoln’s life and contribution to American society, the dedication event itself, and the evolving meaning from Lincoln as savior of the Union in the 19th century to a beacon of civil rights in the 20th century. We will also touch on its potential meanings for the rest of the 21st century.
The program will include musical performances, presentation of the colors, and speakers on various aspects of the Memorial. The speaker lineup is still tentative at this early date, but we hope to invite Dr. Charlotte P. Morris, President, Tuskegee University to highlight the points intended by Dr. Robert Moton at the original dedication in 1922. Moton was the sole African American speaker in an event that focused on Lincoln saving the Union while ignoring his role in emancipation of enslaved people. Moton's speech was edited to remove parts found objectionable to the white organizers. We also expect to invite Harold Holzer to speak about the Memorial itself and Daniel Chester French's magnificent statue of Lincoln dominating its interior. We hope to have the current Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, present, as well as other speakers.
There may be some surprise guests as well. We're working with the park service on those and will update as plans become more solid. We'll be reaching out to the national media, C-SPAN, and other outlets to help publicize and cover the event.
Anyone who wants to help organize the commemoration is welcome to help. We have a lot to do between now and then (including settling on and securing the final date), so let us know if you're interested in helping to pull together this important event.
Watch this website for more updates!