Crafting Inspiration: Why the Speeches of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr. Still Motivate Us Today

October 7, 2013
7:30 pm to 10:00 pm

An address at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and a speech on the National Mall in Washington, DC both mark important eras in our history. Why did the words from these speeches make such a dramatic impact on the historical memory of the United States?

Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.’s speeches are separated by almost 100 years, yet they share a compelling similarity: both speeches make the seemingly impossible appear not only possible but desirable.

We’ll hear from Steven D. Cohen from University of Baltimore's School of Communications Design, Maryland State Delegate Heather Mizeur, Elsa Barkley Brown, a UMD professor specializing in African American history and political culture, and Robert Lehrman, who has been the speechwriter for dozens of Democratic political figures including Vice President Al Gore and is author of The Political Speechwriter's Companion. Panelists will illuminate how and why these speeches made such an impression on our national consciousness.

This project was made possible by a grant from the Maryland Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Maryland Humanities Council.

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