TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Topeka's Brown v. Board National Historic Site served as the backdrop for a celebration to mark 50 years since Martin Luther King, Jr.'s historic "I Have a Dream" speech, envisioning a world without racial and social injustice.
Gov. Sam Brownback joined in ringing a bell at the "Let Freedom Ring" celebration. He says the location, one of the all-black Topeka schools at the center of the landmark ruling to end school segregation, was at the center of the civil rights fight, as was the state of Kansas. He says the bell still rings today because the fight continues to ensure everyone has equal opportunity.
Several students took part in the event, including Topeka High School student Dele Adegbore, who recited King's famous speech.
Adegbore said King's speech was a great symbol of hope for people of all races in the U.S. The words, he said, marched the civil rights movement forward, and the beat goes on today. Adegbore says he believes King would note that racial injustice remains but, just like he said in his speech, a hope is coming.
Not everyone felt the anniversary was cause for celebration. Sonny Scroggins of Bias Busters Kansas held a rally Wednesday afternoon at the MLK tree at the Statehouse. Scroggins says the Brownback administration policies are stifling the progress of people who are poor. Scroggins said, instead of speeches, the nation needs action.