March on Washington Anniversary
6:35 pm
Wed August 28, 2013

Bells Ring From Stone Mountain On Anniversary Of March

From left, DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May, state Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Gretchen Corbin, Stone Mountain Mayor Patricia Wheeler and Sen. Emanuel Jones ring the bell from the summit of Stone Mountain.
From left, DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May, state Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Gretchen Corbin, Stone Mountain Mayor Patricia Wheeler and Sen. Emanuel Jones ring the bell from the summit of Stone Mountain.
Credit Michell Eloy / WABE News

At 3 p.m., bells rang out from the summit of Stone Mountain to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech.  

King mentions the mountain in his speech.

A crowd of about 100 gathered for the ceremony, part of a national campaign called “Let Freedom Ring” that saw hundreds of locations ringing bells in honor of the anniversary.

DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May, Stone Mountain Mayor Patricia Wheeler and state Sen. Emanuel Jones were in attendance.

May touched on his parents’ struggle with segregation and their push for Civil Rights, while Wheeler called the event a personal day for her as a native Atlantan, recalling Stone Mountain’s past a rallying point for the Ku Klux Klan.

Hymnals, including a group rendition of “Lift Every Voice,” peppered the ceremony, and Lunye’ Powers, Diamond Ellis and Cornaya Byrd of the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Society recited Dr. King’s famous speech.  Members of the InterFaith Alliance also offered prayers in remembrance of King.

Last to speak was Jones. He said in the past Stone Mountain was a symbol of hate and intolerance. Turning to Wheeler, he said today, the mountain is a symbol of freedom.

Yet all three stressed that King’s vision of equality is not yet complete.

“We must be mindful that even with the ascension and integration of colored people woven into the fabric of this great nation that there will always be those that refuse to accept their racist past nor embrace real change in America,” Jones said.

As Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech played to close out the ceremony, the crowd cheered and clapped at the line, “But not just there, let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.”