All Sections
action:article | category:NEWHAMPSHIRE02 | adString:NEWHAMPSHIRE02 | zoneID:2
Welcome guest, you have 3 views left. | Register | Sign In


King Honored

Keene State gathers to 'Let Freedom Ring'

KEENE — Diversity and peace were highlighted at Keene State College's "Let Freedom Ring" commemoration of the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech and march on Washington, at Keene State College Wednesday afternoon.

In participating in the 3 p.m. bell ringing, the college joined the world in remembering King's momentous Aug. 28, 1963, speech given on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C.

"Let Freedom Ring" was organized by the international organization the King Center for Nonviolence.

Before the event could begin at 2 p.m., a summer rain shower drove the observance indoors to the college's library where about 100 people gathered to hear King's "I Have a Dream" speech recited by 19 people of various ages and backgrounds. Afterward singer/songwriter and activist Ben Grosscup of Amherst, Mass., performed songs for the crowd until the 3 p.m. bell ringing.

Event organizer Dottie Morris, Keene State College chief officer of diversity and multiculturalism, said she has heard the speech recited several times, "but I've never heard it as a communal thing. I've always heard it as an individual type of thing.

"It was pretty powerful to hear it by multiple voices. To hear females voices, males voices, children's voices. I think it gave it a different meaning cause we all have to take ownership of the words. As opposed to just passively listening."

It was especially moving to hear children recite parts of the speech, she said.

"I think that was one of the powerful parts of the civil rights movement. It was multi-generational. That's the kind of diversity we don't think about very often, age diversity."

But back in the 1960s civil rights movement, young children were on the frontlines in terms of being the first to attend certain schools, she said.

West African native Balla Sankareh, who now lives in Keene, attended the ceremony with his wife."I've heard the parts and bits of the speech when I was back in my country but I've never had the opportunity to hear the whole speech, but today I took the chance to hear the whole speech," he said. "I thought I should come and see it."

Sankareh said it was a great experience in understanding King's message and the struggle for civil rights.

"I think it's a great way to remember what Dr. King started and what he has set out for us to continue," he said.

Prior to Wednesday the N.H. Council of Churches had put out a call to all churches in the state to participate in the 3 p.m. "Let Freedom Ring" bell ringing, said Dawn Berry, pastor of Brookside Congregational Church in Manchester.

Berry said Wednesday morning the church planned to ring its bells at 3 p.m., and then play some of King's favorite hymns on the church bells till 4 p.m.

During that hour the church would be open to people to come and listen to the bells or read a copy of the speech.

"It's particularly meaningful for people in New Hampshire, because in Martin Luther King's speech he says, 'Let freedom ring from the prodigious hill tops of New Hampshire,'" Berry said.

mpierce@newstote.com



Comments


To improve the chance of seeing your comment posted here or published in the New Hampshire Union Leader:

  • Identify yourself. Accounts using fake or incomplete names are suspended regardless of the quality of posts.
  • Say something new, stay on topic, keep it short.
  • Links to outside URLs are discouraged, if used they should be on topic.
  • Avoid comments in bad taste, write well, avoid using all capital letters
  • Don't cite facts about individuals or businesses without providing a means to verify the claim
  • If you see an objectionable comment please click the "Report Abuse" button and be sure to tell us why.

Note: Comments are the opinion of the respective poster and not of the publisher.

Be the first to comment.

Post a comment


You must sign in before you can post comments. If you are experiencing issues with your account please e-mail abuse@unionleader.com.


action:article | category:NEWHAMPSHIRE02 | adString:NEWHAMPSHIRE02 | zoneID:88
     

FOLLOW US
Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Facebook Follow our RSS feed
Union Leader app for Apple iPad or Android *
Click to download from Apple Apps StoreClick to download from Android Marketplace
* e-Edition subscription required