Martin Luther King Jr.’s Original “I Have a Dream” Speech on Display at National Museum of African American History and Culture
The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, Jan. 17) by displaying Martin Luther King Jr.’s original speech from the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. The case containing the speech, which was initially on display in fall 2021, will be reinstalled just in time for visitors to view the historic document ahead of this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. It will be on view in the “Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom” gallery from Jan. 13 to Feb. 27.
In observance of the holiday, the museum will be open to the public for normal operating hours (10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.). Advanced and same-day free timed-entry passes are available online No walk-ups will be permitted. Alongside the speech will be other objects associated with King, including the Congressional Gold Medal awarded posthumously to him and Coretta Scott King in 2014, a laundry pail used by King during the march from Selma to Montgomery and a program from his funeral at the Ebenezer Baptist Church.
King’s speech was originally in possession of Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame player and coach George Raveling, who came in receipt of the artifact while volunteering at the 1963 March on Washington. Recently, Villanova University became the speech’s steward and has entered into a long-term loan agreement with the museum to display it.
In addition to displaying King’s speech, the museum has two virtual offerings that give visitors opportunities to celebrate the holiday from the comfort of their homes, including a blog post highlighting little-known facts about King.
January Virtual Programming Schedule
Passing: A Film Discussion with Director/Writer Rebecca Hall and Actresses Tessa Thompson and Ruth Negga
History Alive! Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.: The Last Five Years
Mondays, Jan. 17 and 24; 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. ET
Reenactor John W. McCaskill brings his History Alive! program to the National Museum of History and Culture to virtually celebrate this year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day. During the History Alive! virtual public program, McCaskill will tell the stories of individuals that fought to end racial segregation in the southern United States and discrimination against African Americans. This month’s program celebrates King’s legacy and chronicles several key events during the last five years of his life. This program is free, but registration is required
About the National Museum of African American History and Culture
Since opening Sept. 24, 2016, the National Museum of African American History and Culture has welcomed more than 7 million visitors. Occupying a prominent location next to the Washington Monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., the nearly 400,000-square-foot museum is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive cultural destination devoted exclusively to exploring, documenting, and showcasing the African American story and its impact on American and world history. For more information about the museum, visit nmaahc.si.edu, follow @NMAAHC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, or call Smithsonian information at (202) 633-1000.]
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