- Associated Press - Monday, February 1, 2016

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) - A Williamsburg church founded by slaves marked its 240th anniversary with the sounding of a restored bell to mark the start of Black History Month.

The First Baptist Church welcomed descendants of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings at a ceremony Monday attended by the Rev. Jesse Jackson and other dignitaries. Jackson said the bell’s sounding “represents the cry of liberty.”

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation loaned some of its famous conservators to restore the bell, which had been silent since the era of segregation.

The church’s commemoration will continue into February at Colonial Williamsburg and the College of William and Mary with exhibits, lectures, films and more.

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