Symbolic 'Let Freedom Ring' ceremonies happening - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Symbolic 'Let Freedom Ring' ceremonies happening on 50th anniversary


Let freedom ring. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke those words from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial 50 years ago. The words are as powerful today as they were then.

There will be a special commemoration of the "I Have a Dream" speech on Wednesday. It is something everyone can take part it. All across the world from Washington, DC to Georgia and California to London and Tokyo, there are planned "Let Freedom Ring" events.

People are being asked to attend an event or ring a bell at 3 p.m. EST, the same time the bell was rung here 50 years ago.

"Everybody won't be able to go to Washington, DC, but everybody should be able to participate," Atlanta City Council President Ceasar Mitchell said.

Mitchell encourages everyone to ring a bell on Aug. 28. Mitchell believes the solidarity sends a strong message.

"People want to be together. People want to find opportunities to work together, to act together, to speak together in one voice," Mitchell said.

King named eight places by name in his famous "I Have a Dream" speech, including Stone Mountain in Georgia.

"When he said 'let freedom ring, let it ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia, let it ring from Lookout Mountain, Tennessee,' I identify with that. I live in Georgia," Congressman John Lewis said.

Lewis was with King as he delivered the speech with a demanding presence. Lewis believes the words King spoke on that day hold true today.

"The bell ringing says in effect, that the cry of Aug. 28, 1963, was not just a cry in America, but around the world," Lewis said.

Rev. Raphael Warnock, the pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church where King used to preach, calls the bell ringing symbolic.

"I think it is a call to action and this can't simply be a moment of commemoration, it has to be a moment of recommitment so the March is not the end of something, it is the beginning of a continuing movement," Warnock said.

Mitchell said given Atlanta's rich history with the Civil Rights Movement, it's even more important to celebrate the dream.

"Atlanta certainly has been a leader in the world when it comes to the issue of human rights and civil rights, and people look to Atlanta for leadership, and this is an opportunity for us to be part of the voice," Mitchell said. 

The city of Atlanta will hand out bells to people who don't have one during their ceremony.

And the King Center developed a bell ringing application that people can play on their phones. Click here for the link.

Here are the locations of the Let Freedom Ring events happening in Georgia:

Stone Mountain Park, National Park Bell at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta City Hall atrium, High Meadows School in Roswell, East Lake Commons in Decatur and Georgia Gwinnett College.

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