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[graphic header] National Register of Historic Places African American History Month
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Paul Laurence Dunbar House
Photo from National Historic Landmark collection

Dayton Aviation Heritage National Park:
Dayton, Ohio

Dayton Aviation Heritage, a cooperative effort between the National Park Service and four partners--The Wright Cycle Company building and Wright brothers' print shop building; Huffman Prairie Flying Field; John W. Berry, Sr. Wright Brothers Aviation Center, which includes the 1905 Wright Flyer III; and the Paul Laurence Dunbar State Memorial--commemorates three exceptional men, Wilbur Wright, Orville Wright, and Paul Laurence Dunbar. Paul Laurence Dunbar was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. He became friends with Orville Wright while attending Central High School in downtown Dayton. The Wright brothers printed a newspaper Dunbar published and edited aimed at the African American community of Dayton. Dunbar became an internationally known poet and author and was the first African American to gain wide acceptance within literary circles in the United States. This gifted and prolific writer produced a body of work that included novels, plays, short stories, lyrics, and over 400 published poems. His work, which reflected much of the African American experience, contributed to a growing social consciousness and cultural identity for African Americans in the United States. After travels across this country and abroad Dunbar purchased a house on what is now Paul Laurence Dunbar Street for his mother in 1904. He lived with her in the home until his death in February 1906. The Paul Laurence Dunbar House, a National Historic Landmark, is also one of several buildings in the Dunbar Historic District in Dayton.

Lincoln Memorial:
Washington, DC

The Lincoln Memorial
Courtesy of the Washington DC SHPO

The Lincoln Memorial has been the site of civil rights demonstrations for nearly six decades. On its steps Martin Luther King, Jr., spoke of his dream for America:

...In spite of the difficulties of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."
I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.
I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.
I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.
I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama...will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls...I have a dream today.
I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight...
...From every mountainside, let freedom ring.
When we let freedom ring,...we will be able to speed up that day when all God's children...will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we're free at last!"

King's speech was the grand finale of the August 28, 1963, "March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom." The march, led by union leader A. Philip Randolph and organizer Bayard Rustin, drew 200,000 supporters, 50,000 of them white. They included clergy of every faith, students, blue-collar and white-collar workers, and celebrities like Harry Belafonte, Sammy Davis, Jr., Marlon Brando, James Garner, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan. Robert Weisbrot, author of Freedom Bound, called the march "the largest political assembly in American history."

Of the other civil rights events at the Lincoln Memorial, perhaps none other has been as celebrated as the Easter Sunday 1939 concert by contralto Marian Anderson, who sang to 75,000 people gathered on the grounds. As an African American Anderson had previously been denied the right to perform at Constitution Hall, owned by the then all-white Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). As a result First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who resigned from the DAR because of the incident, worked in tandem with the Marian Anderson Citizens Committee, the NAACP, and other artistic and civil rights organizations to arrange and publicize the Lincoln Memorial concert.

In January 2003, the National Capital Planning Commission approved plans to add an inscription to the Lincoln Memorial commemorating King's "I Have a Dream" speech. The inscription will be placed on the steps leading to the memorial, at the spot where King delivered the speech.

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