Bells pay musical tribute to Dr. King’s legacy

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Bells in Memphis, across the nation and around the world will ring at the fateful moment Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.

There are 52 steps on the winding staircase that leads to the heart of Idlewild Presbyterian’s bell tower.

That’s where Peggy McClure and David Caudill bring 48 bells to life and send a musical tribute across Midtown.

“Some of those include what you would expect, like, ‘We Shall Overcome,’ and ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing.’ Others include ‘Ebony and Ivory’ and ‘Imagine,” McClure, Associate Carillonneur, said.

Wednesday McClure and Caudill performed their musical tribute on what’s called a carillon.

Given Idlewild’s history during the 1968 Sanitation Strike, this made for the perfect backdrop fro a day dedicated to Dr. King’s legacy.

“The night Dr. King was assassinated there was a group of black and white ministers meeting here. It was one of the few places in the city that was safe for blacks and whites to get together, and someone came into the church to say that Dr. King had been shot,” McClure said.

Fittingly, the program ended with ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing,’ a song that as come to represent both the agony and victory of the Civil Rights struggle.

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