American Icons: The Lincoln Memorial

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This is America's soapbox.

Kurt Andersen looks into how the Lincoln Memorial became an American Icon. Sarah Vowell discusses the battle over Lincoln's memory, which lasted for three generations. Dorothy Height, the late veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, recalled witnessing Marian Anderson's historic concert there in 1939, and hearing Martin Luther King, Jr., declare "I have a dream" in 1963.  And a former White House aide sets the record straight on Richard Nixon's infamous 4 a.m. trip to the Lincoln Memorial, where he met with student protesters there to denounce the Vietnam War.

Actor David Strathairn reads the Gettysburg Address (which is engraved on the Memorial) for Studio 360.


Slideshow: The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial under construction.
The Lincoln Memorial under construction. ( Library of Congress )
The Lincoln Memorial under construction.
The Lincoln Memorial under construction. ( Library of Congress )
Sculptor Daniel Chester French at Chesterwood, his Massachusetts studio.
Sculptor Daniel Chester French at Chesterwood, his Massachusetts studio. ( Library of Congress )
Lincoln Memorial Dedication Ceremony - May 30, 1922.
Lincoln Memorial Dedication Ceremony - May 30, 1922. ( Courtesy of Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War )
Marion Anderson standing in front of the Lincoln statue.
Marion Anderson standing in front of the Lincoln statue. ( Copyright Medal of Freedom.com )
The Lincoln Memorial.
The Lincoln Memorial. ( Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA-OWI Collection )
The Lincoln Memorial at night.
The Lincoln Memorial at night. ( Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Theodor Horydczak Collection )
The Lincoln Memorial with cherry blossoms.
The Lincoln Memorial with cherry blossoms. ( Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Theodor Horydczak Collection )
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