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, a veteran of the Civil Rights Movement, recalls 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.

(Originally aired February 19, 2010)




Marian Anderson performs on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday in 1939




Inside the Lincoln Memorial


Music Playlist

  1. Lincoln Portrait

  2. Billy the Kid Ballet Suite

  3. This is Your Last Chance (Before I Sleep)

    Artist: Slow Six
    Album: Private Times in Public Places
  4. II. Mother of the Man

    Album: Naive and Sentimental Music
  5. The American Process