The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will celebrate Martin Luther King’s legacy on Jan. 16 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 organizations are allowed to set up booths in the museum to tell the public about their work.
In addition, the ALPLM is offering the public a chance to help others and enjoy the museum at a reduced price. Every Sunday in January and on the King holiday on Monday, Jan. 16, a group of four people can tour the museum for just $10 total if they bring a new, unopened board game for donation to Big Brothers/ Big Sisters of Springfield, Illinois.
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 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 children can range in age from 4th grade to high school seniors.
Informational booths will be located in the museum plaza from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to highlight area non-profit groups and their contributions to the community. They include Canine Companions; Big Brothers, Big Sisters; the Compass after-school program, and Jared’s Keepers, a suicide-prevention group.
The 4-H Dancers, from the University of Illinois Extension’s 4-H Program, will perform at 1 p.m.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, a division of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, is dedicated to telling the story of America’s 16th president through old-fashioned scholarship and modern technology.
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.
For more information, visit www.presidentlincoln.illinois.gov.