The Lincoln Memorial Turns 100 in 2022!May 30, 2022, marks the 100th anniversary of the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial. Honoring the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, and inspired by the Parthenon in Athens, Greece, the memorial features a statue of the seated Lincoln; engravings of the Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address, two of his greatest speeches; and murals with allegorical depictions of his greatest accomplishments as president - the reunification of the United States following the Civil War and the emancipation of more than four million enslaved persons.
The dedication of the Lincoln Memorial took place on Decoration Day (now known as Memorial Day) weekend. An estimated crowd of 50,000 attended the ceremony, while as many as two million listened across the country via the new medium of radio. Speakers included President Warren G. Harding, former president and Chief Justice of the United States William Howard Taft (who also served as chairman of the Lincoln Memorial Commission, which had overseen the design and construction of the memorial), and Dr. Robert Russa Moton, principal of the Tuskegee Institute. The latter, despite his honored place in the program and his remarks promoting equality among the races, addressed a segregated audience that day, a symbol not only how far the nation had come, but how much work remained.
Over the nearly 100 years since the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated, the edifice and the surrounding landscape have taken on a significance beyond merely commemorating the 16th president. As one of the most recognized buildings in the world, the Lincoln Memorial has become a symbol of the United States of America, a backdrop for national celebrations and the nation’s pre-eminent stage for the rallies and demonstration, particularly those for civil rights.
During May, the National Park Service and its partners will sponsor a number of commemorative activities which reflect on 100 years of honoring the legacy of Abraham Lincoln, including such topics as the meaning and memory of the memorial, the Lincoln Memorial as a work of art, the memorial and the monumental city, the many sides of Abraham Lincoln and the Lincoln Memorial’s pivotal role in the civil rights movement.These in-person and virtual activities will occur at the Lincoln Memorial and other sites around the nation’s capital in May 2022 to celebrate the centennial. Browse our calendar below, follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook (@NationalMallNPS), check out our park partners for additional activities. Details will be added and updated throughout the year, so check back often!
Join the National Park Service and our partners for a full month of special events, ranger programs and Junior Ranger activities!
Last updated: May 16, 2022