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!
The goal to place a privately-funded bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln in Bronson Park to help launch our Lincoln-legacy plans for Kalamazoo has been accomplished and we want to thank the many generous supporters who made this possible. We especially want to acknowledge our capital campaign honorary co-chairs: Lynn Chen-Zhang, Blaine Lam, Ken Miller, Dr. Michael Rice, Ron and Ruth Wiser, and the late Moses Walker. We also want to acknowledge the cooperative help received from the Kalamazoo City Commission and city administration, notably Parks Director Patrick McVeery and Deputy City Manager Jeff Chamberlain.
Statue Dedication Poem
Statue photo credit: Anthony Dugal
If you missed the Agust 27, 2023 Kalamazoo Lincoln Statue Dedication Ceremony, watch it here at your leisure.
Videography compliments of Steven R. Schrier.
Thank you to all who attended and made our Bronson Park statue dedication ceremony on August 27, 2023 a joyous celebration!
On July 5, 2022, the Kalamazoo City Commission unanimously approved the winning design by sculptor William Wolfe for the proposed Bronson Park Abraham Lincoln statue. (The report to the city commission can be downloaded below.)
We applaud the foresight of the Kalamazoo City Commission and the Kalamazoo City Administration in authorizing the Kalamazoo Abraham Lincoln Institute to oversee this historic and artistic initiative, and we thank them for working with us in the collaborative effort to bring Abraham Lincoln back to Kalamazoo!
The Institute will continue to work with the City of Kalamazoo to protect the city's new Lincoln statue. Plans are underway to further develop and enhance the statue grounds.
We are committed to developing educational resources that build on Kalamazoo's Lincoln legacy. As board member Fred Colgren says, "We want to turn kids on to history!" And so we have created a draft curriculum framework for teaching area students about Lincoln's Kalamazoo visit. Using the download button below, you will see the material is tied to Michigan's core curriculum requirements.
We believe Lincoln’s life story also provides a tangible model for teaching social-emotional competencies in classroom instruction. We address this topic on page two of the appended document.
This is a work in progress. We welcome your comments and suggestions. Please share this proposal with your friends and associates.
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 principled 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 and purpose so that healing, hope and joy might permeate the land.
The Kalamazoo Abraham Lincoln Institute 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 Institute (KLI) 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 Institute, 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.
Read Lincoln's Kalamazoo Speech in its entirety courtesy of the Kalamazoo Public Library with curatorial comments by the Kalamazoo Valley Museum.
One of our board members, Dr. Tom George, has done some scholarly research on the particulars surrounding Lincoln's visit. 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, now the Kalamazoo Abraham Lincoln Institute, a Michigan 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. One of our goals, to place a privately-funded bronze statue of Lincoln in Bronson Park, has been achieved.
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 now serves 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 [Institute] 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)
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Video narrations of "A Gift of History, "Return to Kalamazoo," and "Come to the Rescue" courtesy of Tim Brown of Easy On Hold.
© 2023 Kalamazoo Abraham Lincoln Institute. All rights reserved.