Dozens of people trekked to the top of Stone Mountain Wednesday afternoon to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington.
Stone Mountain was one of the places Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. mentioned by name in his famous “I Have a Dream” speech that day.
“Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California, but not only that,” King told the crowd. “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.”
Lunye Powers, an eighth grade student at Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy in Atlanta, read King’s words to the group gathered on the landmark.
She said she had practiced the speech “a million” times and was thrilled to deliver part of it.
“It was honoring like that I could read the speech that Dr. King wrote that he wrote from the heart,” said Powers. “It felt amazing knowing that I could be here and that this happened 50 years ago.”
Throughout the reading, many in the crowd clapped and cheered on Powers and her fellow classmates, who divided the speech into three parts.
It was particularly moving for Faye Vinson of Decatur.
“I was nine years old in Holly Grove, Arkansas when Dr. King made the speech and I know I was in a segregated town. I drank from the colored fountain, went to a colored school, ‘cause that’s what they called it back then,” Vinson recalled.
To conclude the commemoration, people rang bells at exactly 3:00 p.m., which was the time Dr. King took to the podium 50 years ago. Hundreds of bells across the country were also ringing.
“So that bell ringing to me was the symbol of burying the past, burying what’s going on today and looking with hope for a bright future,” said Vinson.