Series: What Does the Lincoln Memorial Mean to Me?

These learning activities engage middle and high school students with the history and meaning of the Lincoln Memorial. Each lesson focuses on a different aspect of the Lincoln Memorial dedication in 1922 and used primary sources to make connections between the intended purpose and the actual meaning of the memorial.

  • Article 1: Lincoln Memorial Education Series: Royal Cortissoz and the Epitaph

    Lincoln Statue and Epitaph

    Royal Cortissoz, an art critic and columnist for the New York Herald Tribune, was asked to write the words that appears above the Lincoln Statue. He believed the inscription should be simple, easy to remember and convey one great idea that would appeal to everyone. Read more

  • Article 2: Lincoln Memorial Education Series: The Dedication

    Lincoln Memorial Dedication Speeches

    There were three main speakers at the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial on May 30, 1922. Chief Justice William Howard Taft, President Warren Harding and Dr. Robert Moton. Both Taft and Harding remarked on the memorial’s emphasis towards national unity, insisting that emancipation was of secondary importance and a byproduct of war. Dr. Moton, on the other hand, used the occasion to plea for racial justice and claimed the “greatness for Abraham Lincoln lies in this, that amid Read more

  • Article 3: Lincoln Memorial Education Series: The Censorship of Dr. Robert Moton

    Speakers at the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial

    Twelve days prior to the dedication, Chief Justice William Howard Taft, president of the Lincoln Memorial Commission, asked to review Dr. Moton’s speech. Finding it to be too radical he insisted that several sections be removed, particularly those that criticized the federal government for its failure to protect the rights of African Americans. In this learning activity, students will compare the two versions of Dr. Moton's speech and analyze censorship. Read more

  • Article 4: Lincoln Memorial Education Series: Tale of Two Ceremonies

    Scene at the Dedication of the Lincoln Memorial

    Students will compare newspaper articles from two different sources describing the Lincoln Memorial dedication ceremony and decide whether bias existed in the coverage of the dedication. Students will discuss why newspapers chose to cover the dedication the way they did. Read more