WASHINGTON, D.C. (WAVY) — The Freedom Bell in Williamsburg is making history once again. Wednesday it was delivered to Washington, DC where President Obama is expected to ring it for the Grand Opening of the National Museum of African American History and Culture set to take place this weekend.
“We loan this bell to say that healing is possible, justice is reachable, and to remind us of our sacred heritage,” said Pastor Reginald Davis of the First Baptist Church Williamsburg. “We are one nation, indivisible, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”
The First Baptist Church in Williamsburg was organized in 1776 by slaves.
The Freedom Bell, as it’s now called, was purchased by the women’s auxiliary in the 1800’s. It’s been silent since segregation. But thanks to a restoration effort by Colonial Williamsburg, it rang for the first time in decades at the beginning of Black History month this year.
Among others who came to hear the bell ring in February and see it delivered to the Nation’s Capital this week was Prinny Anderson, a descendent of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings.
“The last few months have been painful for our nation,” Anderson said. “This shows us that we can have higher principles. We can treat each other better. And we can rise above it all.”
Around 55 people, including members of the First Baptist Church in Williamsburg and Colonial Williamsburg boarded a charter bus Wednesday morning to follow the bell’s journey from Hampton Roads to Washington, DC.
They prayed over the bell shortly before it was taken away. It won’t be at the museum long though.
It has to get back to Williamsburg for the church’s 240th anniversary celebration next month.