MLK50 Organizers Prepare For Powerful Succession Of Church Bells Ringing Locally & Internationally

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Wednesday evening, around Memphis and across the world, bells will ring in tribute of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

More than 200 places of faith, from a Presbyterian church in Midtown Memphis to a temple in India, will ring bells in honor of the life of the civil rights icon on the 50th anniversary of his assassination.

“A bell toll really gains your attention,” Dr. Noelle Trent of the National Civil Rights museum said. That’s why so many will ring in Memphis and beyond Wednesday evening.

“At 6:01 when we ring that bell, I think it’s going to release a spirit that everyone is going to bringing with them,” Dr. Trent said. “It penetrates all the noise of the world and it makes us really focus and be quiet.”

Once the bell rings 39 times at the National Civil Rights Museum Wednesday at 6:03 p.m., others will be rung at universities and churches across Memphis, including Idlewild Presbyterian Church in Midtown.

At 6:05 p.m., bells will then ring at churches around the United States and at 6:07 p.m. at worship places in different countries.

“All across the world, essentially they’ll be this echo of this moment and this man who influenced non-violence,” Dr. Trent said.

And as the chimes ring Wednesday evening, museum leaders hope those who can hear the bells will stop to listen, and reflect on the Dr. King’s sacrifice for civil rights.

“You start to realize how young he was by each count, each toll is symbolic of something he accomplished and people who he affected that we know about and those that we don’t know about,” Dr. Trent said.

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