SPRINGFIELD – The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will celebrate Martin Luther King’s legacy on Monday, Jan. 15, by presenting his most famous speech and welcoming community groups that work to better the lives of others.
Actor Reggie Guyton will read King’s “I Have a Dream” speech at 10:30 and 1:30 in the museum’s main plaza.
King originally delivered the speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during a 1963 civil rights march in Washington, D.C. He praised Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation as “a great beacon light of hope” but said African-Americans were still chained by segregation and discrimination.
The Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum honors King’s birthday each year by hosting Community Day. Not-for-profit groups that serve the public can visit the museum free of charge if they register in advance.
Other events on Jan. 15 include music by The Four Sopranos at 12:30, a performance by the Springfield 4-H Dance Troupe at 1 o’clock, and appearances by historic interpreters portraying Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth from 1-4 p.m. Museum admission is required to attend these events.
King once said, “Not everybody can be famous, but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service.” Each year, thousands upon thousands of Illinoisans turn that philosophy into action by joining groups to improve education, clean up neighborhoods, help the needy and much more.
Free admission to the presidential museum for prescheduled not-for-profit groups is meant to honor that service and to help children appreciate another great American who prized liberty and equality. Reservations are required and can be made by calling the Group Tours office at 217-558-8939. The usual admission price is $15 for adults and $6 for children 5 to 15.
Groups bringing children must have one adult chaperone for every 10 children. (Extra chaperones above that ratio will have to pay for their tickets.) The students can range in age from 4th grade to college.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is dedicated to telling the story of America’s 16th president through old-fashioned scholarship and modern technology. It also serves as the Illinois historical library.
The library maintains an unparalleled collection of Lincoln documents, photographs, artifacts and art. It also has some 12 million items pertaining to all aspects of Illinois history, making the library one of the nation’s leading institutions for genealogy and history research.