The Keynote Address: On Unity and Equality

By Wendy Swanson

Washington, D.C.

Friday, May 20, 2022


The theme for our Lincoln Memorial Centennial program is “Building on Lincoln’s Vision for Unity and Equality.” This theme places emphasis on Lincoln’s dual roles as both a unifier and an emancipator while acknowledging that the country still has work to do to attain this vision.


The honor of speaking to this topic goes to Dr. Charlotte P. Morris, our keynote speaker, (see photo at the right) and she is the perfect person for this task. Dr. Morris is currently the 9th president and CEO of Tuskegee University. One of her predecessors in this position (at the time when the university was known as Tuskegee Institute) was Dr. Robert R. Moton, who gave the keynote address at the 1922 dedication of the Lincoln Memorial. Famously, Dr. Moton’s speak was censored in part as he was told to “tone down” his proposed remarks, particularly those pertaining to racial equality.


In her presentation, Dr. Morris will reference Dr. Moton and his “unspoken words” while examining the progress that has been made in the areas of equality and social justice since his time. She also will speak directly to the theme of Unity and Equality while leading us into lessons learned from Abraham Lincoln to guide our path into the future.


In her role as university president, Dr. Morris leads a faculty and staff of approximately 800 individuals and a student population of 2800. She is the second female to hold this role in the Institution’s 140-year history. Prior to becoming president of the University, she served as associate dean in the College of Business and Information Science and held other administrative positions including interim president during her 36-year tenure at Tuskegee. She is a member of the board of trustees for the Southern Education Foundation and the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering. She is also a peer reviewer for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.


Dr. Morris earned the Ph.D. degree in Education and Business Management at Kansas State University, the M.Ed. degree at Delta State University, and the M.S. degree in Business from Jackson State University. She completed coursework at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in Higher Education Administration, and completed the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.


As we seek to extend Lincoln’s vision into the 21st century, Dr. Morris, through her address, will provide us with guidance on how Lincoln’s life can assist us progress further into the nation of his vision, one where “all men (and women) are treated equal.”


Join us this Sunday, May 22, 2022, beginning at 10 am, as we commemorate the Lincoln Memorial's Centennial - and Lincoln's vision for the nation - on the steps of the Memorial itself.


Check out other posts under the News tab on this website for more information, including how to plan your Lincoln Memorial Centennial Day (hint, take Metro). And be sure to check out the Events tab for related programs the Lincoln Group has arranged to help celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln Memorial.