In commemoration of the 1963 March on Washington, the City of Houston held a brief ceremony at 1:30 at the reflexion pool behind City Hall, just prior to the ringing of bells at 2:00.
Dr. D.C. Cofield of the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church presided over the ceremony. It began with a flag procession by a color guard from the Milby Jr. ROTC, Reverend Joseph Mays singing the National Anthem, an invocation by Rabbi Amy Weiss, and a brief address by Mayor Annise Parker.
Mayor Parker stated, “today is about the articulation of a dream about America.” I was born in a segregated society. My children were not. But despite all the progress that we can absolutely acknowledge, racism still exists, and to say that it does not is to turn a blind eye to realty."
The ceremony featured Dr. Thomas Freeman of TSU coach of the renown TSU debate team, which performed a dramatic reading of “The Speech at the Monument,” including famous quotations on liberty from various authors, and excerpts from King's speech. The reading also included quotations from his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” and his last speech before his assassination in 1968 in which he assured eventual victory and suggested that he would not live much longer.
Dr. Freeman, has been a professor of teacher of philosophy and psychology for 64 years. He stated that he had taught Martin Luther King at Morehouse College in 1963, and said “It is altogether fitting that my present students pay tribute to my former student.”
For this occasion, the Houston Fire Department used its symbolic silver bell, which normally is used only at memorial services honoring the death of a firefighter. She rang the official HFD bell In addition, smaller red handbills were provided for the members of City Council and other members of the public attending the gathering.