Today the US will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March for Jobs and Freedom, during which Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. The event comes after a week of celebrations, including a march on Saturday where speakers commemorated King, discussed the history of the civil rights movement, and spoke about the changes that still need to occur to fulfill King’s dream of a more equal world.
A nation-wide bell-ringing ceremony and an address from President Barack Obama at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC will take place today at three PM EDT, the exact time when King gave his speech on August 28, 1963. Former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter will join President Obama during the ceremony.
Preceding President Obama’s address, bells will ring in over 100 churches, schools, organizations, and historical monuments across the US. International celebrations are also taking place in England, Japan, Switzerland, Nepal, and Liberia. The bells are in reference to King’s speech. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “When we allow freedom to ring–when we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last, free at last, great God almighty, we are free at last.'”
Media Resources: USA Today 8/24/2013; BBC 8/28/2013; ABC 8/28/2013