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April 8, 2008

Seven New “Living Legends” Honored on April 12 To Commemorate Launch of “Library of Congress Experience”

Public Enters Through Ornate Bronze Doors First Time Since 1990

The Library of Congress will honor seven new "Living Legends" as part of its public celebration on Saturday, April 12, at the Thomas Jefferson Building (10 First St. SE, Washington, D.C., 20540). The ceremony will help mark the opening of the "Library of Congress Experience," which offers visitors the opportunity to explore rare historical and cultural treasures through interactive technology and a companion Web site. Detailed information on the Experience can be found at

"Living Legend" awards will be presented by the Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, and Master of Ceremonies and a formerly inducted Living Legend Mickey Hart, Grateful Dead percussionist and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Established during the Library’s Bicentennial celebration in 2000, the "Living Legend" award honors artists, writers, activists, filmmakers, physicians, entertainers, sports figures and public servants who have made significant contributions to America’s diverse cultural, scientific and social heritage. Saturday’s honorees will include:

  • Mario Andretti. Referred to by many as the "greatest race car driver of all time," the skilled and versatile driver produced some of racing history’s most notable wins including the Indianapolis 500, the Daytona 500, the Formula One World Championship and the Pikes Peak Hill climb.
  • Julian Bond. This Civil Rights activist and NAACP Chairman has been a social change agent since 1960. He served more than 20 years in the Georgia General Assembly and is a university professor and writer.
  • Herbie Hancock. An Academy Award- and Grammy Award-winning jazz pianist and composer, this icon of modern music has seen commercial and artistic success in acoustic and electronic jazz and R&B since 1960.
  • David McCullough. An acclaimed historian, his books have been praised for their scholarship and understanding of American life. He has received two National Book Awards, two Pulitzer Prizes and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • Cokie Roberts. This columnist and national-bestselling author also serves as senior news analyst for NPR and political commentator for ABC News. She received the Edward R. Murrow Award for radio and was the first broadcast journalist to win the Everett McKinley Dirksen Award for coverage of Congress.
  • Frank Robinson. Rookie of the Year in 1956 and MVP in both leagues (with the Reds in 1961 and the Orioles in 1966), this Major League Baseball Hall of Fame member was the first African-American manager (for the Cleveland Indians) in Major League history.
  • Bob Schieffer. Veteran newsman and host of CBS’s Face the Nation, he is broadcast journalism’s most experienced Washington reporter. He is a member of the Broadcasting/Cable Hall of Fame and recipient of the 2003 Paul White Award recognizing his lifetime contribution to electronic journalism.

Public Celebration Activities

Festivities kick off at 11 a.m. At noon, the Library’s ornate bronze doors will open to the public for the first time since 1990, along with a host of new exhibits (coinciding with the conclusion of the Parade of the National Cherry Blossom Festival) until 5 p.m. The bronze doors represent the communications revolutions of oral tradition, writing and print.

There will also be music and entertainment, activities for young people and presentations featuring Library programs such as the Veterans History Project. Below is the full schedule of events:

Neptune Plaza (Main Stage)

  • 11 a.m., The Library of Congress Chorale will perform the National Anthem, followed by the Grammy-award winning children’s musical duo Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer. The Librarian of Congress delivers welcoming remarks.
  • noon, Doors and exhibitions open to a performance of the John Philip Sousa’s "Library of Congress March," and Cathy Fink and Marcie Marxer perform a second set.
  • 12:30 p.m., "Spotlight on Poetry." Grace Cavalieri, Dan Logan, and Ethelbert Miller will read a sampling of their poems and poems by past Poets Laureate.
  • 1 p.m., Concert by Doc Scantlin and the Imperial Palms Orchestra
  • 3:30 p.m., Living Legends program with Dr. Billington and Mickey Hart
  • 4:45 p.m., Closing remarks by the Librarian of Congress

Veterans History Project Pavilion (South of Main Stage)

  • 12:30 p.m., Darlene Iskra, a veteran of the Persian Gulf War and the first woman to command a ship in the history of the U.S. Navy—the Opportune.
  • 1:30 p.m., Grant Ichikawa, a veteran of World War II and the Korean War. During WWII, his family was interned in a relocation camp for Japanese Americans while he served in the Pacific Theater as a translator and interrogator.
  • 2:30 p.m., Terry Shima, Executive Director of the Japanese American Veterans Association, will talk about the technique of interviewing veterans.

Children’s Activity Area (North of Main Stage)

  • 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Face-painting and finger-painting stations
  • 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., PBS characters and write-your-own story activity

A brief film produced about the Library of Congress by History Channel, titled "Making History Together," will be shown on a continuous loop in the Library’s Coolidge Auditorium and intermittently on giant screens in front of the Thomas Jefferson Building throughout the day.

Inspiration Across the Nation

The Library of Congress will also publicly launch the "Inspiration Across the Nation" online campaign to celebrate and showcase the creativity and contributions of our nation’s early cultures, great minds and other founding influences. People nationwide will have the opportunity to submit to the Library their own creative works in the form of stories, poems, video, audio, photos–anything that can be transmitted in an electronic file. Select entries will be chosen to be part of the Library’s permanent collections, joining the works of figures such as Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and other cultural and historic legends.

To extend this national celebration into local communities around the country, the Library and 10 public libraries will host events themed around "Inspiration Across the Nation." These events will begin in fall 2008 and continue in 2009.

The Library of Congress Experience is made possible by the benefaction of the United States Congress and with major support from John and Maria Kluge, Microsoft Corp., Terremark Worldwide Inc., Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest, David H. Koch, Peter D. and Julie Fisher Cummings, Marjorie S. Fisher, Roger and Susan Hertog, Jay I. Kislak, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Xerox Foundation, Raymond W. Smith, Nancy Glanville Jewell, Beatrice W. Welters, Consuelo Duroc-Danner, Marjorie M. Fisher, and the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, with the additional support of other generous donors.

The Library of Congress is the world’s preeminent reservoir of knowledge, providing unparalleled integrated resources to Congress and the American people. Founded in 1800, the Library seeks to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, which bring to bear the world’s knowledge in almost all of the world’s languages and America’s private-sector intellectual and cultural creativity in almost all formats.

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PR 08-072
ISSN 0731-3527

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