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home : news : state news free February 26, 2020

1/11/2020 8:58:00 AM
Lincoln Presidential Library to honor MLK's memory with day of activities

SPRINGFIELD — The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy on Monday, Jan. 20, by presenting his most famous speech and offering free admission to community groups that work to better the lives of others.

The presidential library will also host a blood drive on the holiday that is often called a “national day of service.”

The highlight of the day is actor Reggie Guyton reading King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. He will perform at 10:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. 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.

“Not everybody can be famous, but everybody can be great because greatness is determined by service,” King once said. 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.

Registered non-profits can visit the Lincoln Presidential Museum for free on King’s birthday, an offer meant to honor their service and 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. Groups may be asked to provide paperwork showing they are organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes. 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 presidential library is partnering with the Central Illinois Community Blood Center to host the center’s mobile blood unit. Museum guests, staff and volunteers will have the opportunity to roll up their sleeves and donate the "gift of life" from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

To schedule a donation appointment, please go to and use the code 61139 for the blood drive. An appointment is not required, but people who schedule visits will get priority.

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