Now there are a lot of bell happenings that I find awesome, but this one takes the cake…this is AWESOME.
A mentor (thanks Kimberley Rudd!) of mine tuned me into the Let Freedom Ring! campaign of the First Baptist Church in Williamsburg, Virginia for Black History Month. The historic black church has had a bell since the late 19th century, but it fell into disrepair by the mid-twentieth century. To celebrate the church’s 240th anniversary (yes, I wrote that correctly) and the ideals of freedom and equality, the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation have restored the bell into working order. Furthermore, the church and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has invited people to ring the bell throughout the entire month of February as a proclamation of their belief in freedom and equality in America. The ritual is at once a recognition of the distance we have come as a nation and the distance we still need to go.
The bell is the perfect symbol for “letting freedom ring.” The Liberty Bell, you may recall, was a strong symbol of freedom for the abolitionist movement. And of course, “let freedom ring” is the anthem at the end of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s watershed speech for the civil rights movement in Washington D.C. in 1963.
I mean, does bell symbolism get any better than this? What an amazing way to celebrate a milestone anniversary and mark Black History Month, all by getting members of the general public involved with a historic object that represents our highest ideals.
It’s an incredible idea, and I see the slots for the rest of the month are reserved, so it looks like a resounding success! A big shout out to the First Baptist Church and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation for dreaming up this event.