Education / Local / National / Politics / Virginia

“Let Freedom Ring Challenge” tolls for Black History Month in Williamsburg

For more information or to reserve a time to ring the bell at the First Baptist Church, visit https://www.letfreedomringchallenge.org.

For more information or to reserve a time to ring the bell at the First Baptist Church, visit http://www.letfreedomringchallenge.org.

Washington, DC – The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans, is honored to endorse the Let Freedom Ring Challenge, an important event in Virginia taking place during Black History Month. This remarkable initiative spotlights the Black church’s legacy and through storytelling and the restoration of the First Baptist Church’s historic bell, restored by Colonial Williamsburg experts, which will toll each day in February to call for reflection on the Black faith experience in America.

“The First Baptist Church, founded in the same year American gained its independence, is the perfect place for this important reflection, and represents a remarkable tribute to the Black church in America” said Rev. Anthony Evans, NCBI President. “First Baptist – a nexus of trials, tribulations, and hope – tells the important story of our rich history. Even today, its symbolism continues to illustrate race relation struggles facing our society. During February we encourage everyone who is able to take a look back at how far we have come, and how much further we have yet to go.”
Throughout the month, First Baptist Church and Colonial Williamsburg invite all Americans to come and ring the bell, which has been silent for decades.

An engineering and conservation team led by Colonial Williamsburg experts determined the age, foundry, and provenance of the bell, and has completed the painstaking process of restoring it in time for it to toll throughout Black History Month.

“We are going to challenge the nation, Americans of every color, faith, and creed, to take a turn at ringing the bell,” said Mitchell B. Reiss, president and CEO of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation. “This church and this bell follow the arc of the American story of independence, but this was a dream deferred for far too many. As a nation we constantly strive to form a more perfect union, based on liberty, rule of law, and human dignity, and as current events remind us, that work is forever unfinished.”

A multitude of programs throughout February that bring African American history to life complement the Let Freedom Ring Challenge, including “A Century of African American Quilts” and Jim Crow HERO! Live educational broadcast.

For more information or to reserve a time to ring the bell at the First Baptist Church, visit https://www.letfreedomringchallenge.org.

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