April 14, 2000 Library of Congress to Honor "Living Legends"
Contact: Craig D'Ooge (202) 707-9189
The Library of Congress will honor 78 "Living Legends" as part of its Bicentennial celebration on April 24, 2000. Medals will be bestowed by the Librarian of Congress during a National Birthday Party and Concert on the East Lawn of the U.S. Capitol at 12:30 p.m.
"During its year-long celebration of its Bicentennial, the Library of Congress is recognizing a number of Americans whose varied creative contributions to American life have made them living legends," said Librarian of Congress James Billington. "Selected by the Library's curators and subject specialists, those honored include artists, writers, activists, film makers, physicians, entertainers, sports figures, and public servants. Each in his or her own way has advanced and embodied the quintessentially American ideal of individual creativity, conviction, dedication, and exuberance. Their professional accomplishments and sense of commitment have enabled them to provide examples of personal excellence that have benefited others and enriched our nation in a variety of ways."
The list of "Living Legends" reflects the breadth and diversity of America's cultural and civic heritage, which is mirrored in the Library's unparalleled collections of more than 119 million items in some 460 languages. Among those in 10 disciplines who have been selected are children's author and illustrator Maurice Sendak, whose works enrich the Library's Children's Literature collection; author William Styron, who has worked with the Library's Center for the Book to promote literacy and some of whose personal papers are housed in the Library's Manuscript Division; caricaturist Al Hirshfeld, whose craft is honored by the Library's Swann Gallery of Caricature and Cartoon; composer Stephen Sondheim, whose 70th birthday will be celebrated on May 22 at a special musical tribute in the Library's Coolidge Auditorium; filmmaker Steven Spielberg, two of whose films are included in the Library's National Film Registry (E.T. The Extra- Terrestrial and Raiders of the Lost Ark); percussionist Mickey Hart and folk singer Pete Seeger, who have worked with the Library's American Folklife Center to preserve the nation's musical heritage; and comedian Bob Hope, whose field will be honored on May 10 with the opening of the Library's Bob Hope Gallery of Entertainment.
The Library of Congress National Birthday Party and outdoor concert, which is free and open to the public from noon to 2:30 p.m., will celebrate two centuries of America's cultural and historical legacy, and emphasize the importance of preserving the books, music, films, radio, and television moments and memories of the men and women who have helped shape our nation. Hosted by ABC journalist Cokie Roberts, program participants include Gen. Colin Powell, who will discusses the legacy of Abraham Lincoln as seen through the Library's Lincoln collection; illusionist David Copperfield on the influence of Harry Houdini, whose papers are housed in the Library; and "Living Legend" Mickey Hart, who will underscore the importance of preserving our musical heritage. Sesame Street's Big Bird, a "Living Legend" for his work in children's education, will be on hand with his co-star, Maria, to underscore the Library's commitment to making the Library's collections accessible to children and families through its new "America's Library" Web site.
The show will culminate in a performance representing the variety and diversity of American musical forms, including Latin, pop, rock, jazz, folk, bluegrass, and country. Performers include the Saturday Night Live Band, the U.S. Army Band, Rori Godsey, Kathy Mattea, Maurice Sendak, Roger Baum, Pete Seeger, Tao Rodriguez, Mickey Hart and Bob Weir, Tito Puente, Giovanni Hidalgo, David Sanchez, the Chi-Lites, Dianne Reeves, the Kan Kouran dancers, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Ralph Stanley and the Clinch Mountain Boys, the Smokey Town Singers, and the Eastern High School Choir. The program will conclude with a joint arrangement of Woody Guthrie's "This Land Is Your Land."
Library of Congress Living Legends
ATTENDING APRIL 24 EVENT
Herbert Block (Herblock)
Dr. T. Berry Brazelton
Dr. Michael DeBakey
Dr. Sylvia Earle
John Kenneth Galbraith
General Andrew J. Goodpastor
Dr. Stephen Jay Gould
Jenette Kahn (for Superman)
Ambassador Max Kampelman
Dr. Jaroslav Pelikan
General Colin Powell
Dr. Harold Varmus
Dr. Fred L. Whipple
ACCEPTING HONOR BUT UNABLE TO ATTEND
William F. Buckley Jr.
Dr. Benjamin Solomon Carsonv Benny Carter
Marian Wright Edelman
Jackie Joyner Kersee
Billie Jean King
Congressman John Lewis
Dr. Sally K. Ride