The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday by displaying the slain civil rights leader’s original speech from the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.
The speech will be on display in the “Defending Freedom, Defining Freedom” gallery from Thursday to Feb. 27.
The case with the speech inside, initially on display at the museum in fall 2021, will be reinstalled in time for visitors to see the document before the holiday.
In addition, the museum will be open to the public for normal operating hours (10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.), with advanced and same-day free timed entry passes available online. No walk-ups will be allowed.
Also on display alongside the speech are other King objects such as the Congressional Gold Medal awarded to him posthumously and his widow 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 located in Atlanta.
The speech was originally possessed by basketball coach George Raveling, who got it while volunteering at the 1963 march. Recently, Villanova University gained stewardship and has entered into a long-term loan agreement with the museum to display it.