The City of Columbia held a special ceremony to mark Wednesday's 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous “I Have a Dream” speech and the 1963 March On Washington for civil rights.
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin says the speech and march were a turning point in the nation's history, uniting people in a vision of freedom, justice and equality.
Benjamin says today's “Let Freedom Ring” ceremony offered an opportunity to think about the progress over the last 50 years, as well as what's ahead for Columbia in the next 50.
“We want to be the most educated, talented and entrepreneurial city in America and we're well on the way to being there,” Benjamin tells WVOC. “But I firmly believe that if we're going to do it, we've got to do it as one great city working together.
“And having a chance to look at the March in Washington, to have a chance to reflect on Dr. King's vision for what America could do over a generation, to have a chance to celebrate the incredible successes while at the very same time recognize that there are new challenges before us, is a wonderful time.”
The “Let Freedom Ring” event at Columbia City Hall included a recitation of Dr. King's speech, plus a bell-ringing ceremony.
Meanwhile, Governor Nikki Haley proclaimed Wednesday as “Let Freedom Ring Day” across South Carolina.