Statue of Abraham Lincoln being assembled during the construction of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC, 1920. National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).
“On May 30, 1922, a large crowd gathered for the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial. The seating, like much of Washington, was segregated by race, yet the organizers chose [African American] Dr. Robert Russo Moton, President of Tuskegee Institute, as the keynote speaker. Addressing the mostly white crowd, Moton delivered the first of what would be many civil rights speeches at the memorial. He challenged the audience to consider Lincoln’s call for a “new birth of freedom.” From that day forward, the Lincoln Memorial became a national gathering place for groups demanding racial and social justice.”