TOPEKA — Gov. Sam Brownback joined hands Wednesday with a Topeka pastor to ring a silver bell to mark the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.
Brownback and the Rev. Gordon Glenn of Topeka’s St. John AME Church closed a ceremony on the steps of the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. It was one of more than 300 locations around the country where bells were rung to commemorate the August 1963 march in the nation’s capital.
Brownback said King was a prophet but didn’t live to see his dream or words come true. King was assassinated in April 1968, five years after the historic speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
“They will come true,” Brownback said. “We are on the path for them to come true.”
Dele Adegbore, a sophomore at Topeka High School, delivered King’s speech in near 100-degree heat to a crowd of about 75 that included a drum line and choir. The 15-year-old said he practiced giving the speech for three weeks.
“It was an extraordinary experience,” Adegbore said.
Brownback said the Brown v. Board site was fitting because it represented where segregation ended and civil rights began. The historic site is dedicated to the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring segregated schools unconstitutional.
“This place is sacred,” Brownback said.