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More than 300 sites ring bells for MLK speech

Kamar Davis waited in London’s Trafalgar Square before taking part in an event to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech.

Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

Kamar Davis waited in London’s Trafalgar Square before taking part in an event to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Church bells are ringing out at the National Cathedral and nationwide to answer a call from one of the most important civil rights speeches in history to ‘‘let freedom ring.’’

At the National Cathedral in Washington on Wednesday, the central bell tower played ‘‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’’ from the carillon. The bells were to ring for about 15 minutes to mark the moment of Martin Luther King Jr.’s ‘‘I Have a Dream’’ speech 50 years ago.

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On the National Mall, President Barack Obama joined members of King’s family to ring a bell that hung in the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., before the church was bombed in 1963 just weeks after King’s famous speech.

Bell ringing commemorations were planned across the country and around the world. They were meant to answer King’s closing refrain to ‘‘let freedom ring’’ for all people.

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