By Steve Tawa and Natasha Brown
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The Liberty Bell Center provided the backdrop in the annual “National Bell Ringing Ceremony” to mark MLK Day.
South African Counsel General George Monyemangene, who is based in New York, was among the dignitaries on hand, because he was accepting this year’s Drum Major for Freedom Award on behalf of the late President Nelson Mandela:
“This particular day marks a very important day of not only the United States, but those who believe in justice, equality and freedom,” Monyemangene said.
Governor Corbett recalls Dr. King’s famous speech just before he was killed, about going to the mountaintop and looking into the promised land:
“We can only pray that the land he saw is the one in which our children and grand children will dwell,” Corbett said.
Mayor Nutter says on the 60th anniversary of the Brown versus Board of Education decision, which dismantled the legal framework for racial segregation, many are “still fighting for educational equality.”
“Funding equality — a fair, and full funding for our students,” said Nutter. “That is the civil rights struggle, for me, of the 21st century.”
The mayor is advocating for a weighted, enrollment-driven funding formula for all school districts in the Commonwealth.
The symbolic bell tapping inside Liberty Bell Center occurred as the Centennial Bell, which hangs in the Independence Hall Tower chimed, leading a national bell ringing in observance of the holiday.
Tourists took in the moment, some traveling from as far away as Dallas.
“It’s neat that everybody has been able to come together since Dr. Martin Luther King and become one community,” tourist Carolyn Stewart said.