We are pleased you chose to visit us on the web! We love to share our plans to promote Kalamazoo's Lincoln legacy. We invite you to peruse our site and send us your thoughts and suggestions.
Our statement of purpose is this:
To create sustained value from Kalamazoo’s unique Abraham Lincoln legacy with educational programs including leadership development training for area youth, biennial symposiums with art and essay contests, and an instructive commemorative statue of Abraham Lincoln in Bronson Park.
Our aim is to make a positive impact on the lives of area youth!
A recent guest editorial printed in the Kalamazoo Gazette titled "What Would Lincoln Do?" gives ample reasons why Lincoln's statesmanship remains a valued example to model today, and why we are building on his visit to Kalamazoo. What are some of the lessons we can learn from Lincoln?
With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in . . . to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.—Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address, 1865
We embrace Abraham Lincoln's vision of a more just America, and we stand in solidarity with those who have suffered injustice and racial violence. In doing so, we find no room for prejudice, hate and discrimination. Sadly, today’s injustice and unrest echoes those inequalities that have yet to be fully resolved since the days of Lincoln. Yet we believe the hard learned lessons of the past can help instruct and guide us on the path toward a more just society that honors the American creed that all are created equal. To that end, we commit our time, energy and resources to help share Lincoln's story of courage, hope and purpose so that healing, hope and joy might permeate the land.
The Kalamazoo Abraham Lincoln Project joins with the Kalamazoo community in honoring the late Moses Walker, community leader and dedicated public servant. We extend our condolences to the Walker family and wish to acknowledge our appreciation for Mr. Walker's participation in our project as an honorary co-chair of our 2019-2020 capital campaign. We share Moses Walker's passion for encouraging young people and we are deeply grateful for his commitment to improving the quality of life in Kalamazoo.
We want to build on a gift of history unique to Kalamazoo—something no other community in Michigan can claim—a visit by one of the most admired statesman of all time, Abraham Lincoln. The Kalamazoo Abraham Lincoln Project is a community-based effort to celebrate Lincoln's 1856 visit to Kalamazoo in a sustained and creative way. Our plan is to use this singular event of the past to enrich the life of Kalamazoo today and into the future.
With the advent of the Kalamazoo Promise, Kalamazoo has achieved national prominence in the pursuit of higher learning. Educating young minds is central to the scope and purpose of the Kalamazoo Abraham Lincoln Project, reinforcing the exceptionalism that defines Kalamazoo.
On August 27, 1856, Abraham Lincoln visited Kalamazoo. Little known outside his home state of Illinois, he was invited to speak at a political rally in what is now Bronson Park. It would be his only public appearance in Michigan. He came to give voice to the moral issue of his day—slavery. Nine years later, he would give his life at the hand of an assassin.
One of our board members, Dr. Tom George, has done some scholarly research on the particulars surrounding Lincoln's visit. Click on this link to read Dr. George's article published in the Journal of the Abraham Lincoln Association.
In the fall of 2012, a local steering committee was formed to explore ways to use Lincoln's 1856 visit as a springboard for educational purposes. The committee assessed Lincoln's Kalamazoo visit as an untapped resource with the potential to add significant cultural and educational value to Kalamazoo. As a result, a threefold program was introduced as the Kalamazoo Abraham Lincoln Project (KLP), now a Michigan 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. The first step is to place a privately-funded bronze statue of Lincoln in Bronson Park.
In December 2013, the Kalamazoo City Commission approved the steering committee's request to place a privately-funded Lincoln statue in Bronson Park. Specific site location was approved by the commission in July 2016 (see download below). The statue will serve as an anchor for the committee's three-part Lincoln-legacy plan, and a visible reminder of Lincoln's visit to Kalamazoo.
"The City of Kalamazoo supports the placement of a privately-funded bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln in Bronson Park, and has authorized the Kalamazoo Abraham Lincoln Project to coordinate fundraising efforts, and oversee the artistic direction for the statue design and selection of a sculptor. Final design approval is subject to the advice and consent of the City of Kalamazoo . . . The statue will be placed on ground located in the north central part of the park." —November 18, 2016 (revised January 22, 2018)
Our capital campaign to raise $300,000* to place a privately-funded bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln in Bronson Park and advance our 3-part Lincoln-legacy plans for Kalamazoo is supported by the following honorary co-chairs: Lynn Chen-Zhang, Blaine Lam, Ken Miller, Dr. Michael Rice, Ron and Ruth Wiser, and the late Moses Walker.
Please join these community leaders in helping bring Lincoln back to Kalamazoo! Your support of this positive community enrichment is greatly appreciated. You may donate online!
*Target goal includes a required maintenance endowment fund set at $50,000 and foundry casting costs of approximately $30,000. Other costs include the fee for the sculptor's commission, the cost of the mold and pedestal, design maquettes, travel and lodging, structural engineering, site preparation, shipping, installation, and other related expenses.
Video narration of "A Gift of History" courtesy of Tim Brown of Easy On Hold.
© 2020 Kalamazoo Abraham Lincoln Project. All rights reserved.