Local News

40th Anniversary Of March Draws Celebrations Of King's Dream

Posted August 24, 2003 12:52 p.m. EDT

— Forty years ago this week, Dr. Martin Luther King shared his dream with a nation.

The 1963 March on Washington and Dr. King's "I Have A Dream Speech" are the focus of a celebration this weekend. A group from Durham participated in the event in the nation's capitol.

Forty years ago this week, Barbara McKnuckles left on a bus from Durham to march on Washington. She said that day and that speech helped change the world.

"Things are better for my nephew than they were for me," McKnuckles said. "I hope as the years go on that they get even better.

"It was the first time that a whole lot of just ordinary people got together and said the way you're going ain't right. And I knew that what was taking place during that event some 40 years ago would change our lives forever."

Josephine Harris was only 12 in 1963. She could only wish to have been at the Lincoln Memorial that day.

"It is just sort of a dream come true for me to be able to actually physically be there," Harris said of her weekend trip to D.C.

Some say 40 years marks a generation -- a time when the torch of lessons learned can burn out or burn brighter, a time to recognize past and future leaders.

The future is why the travelers from Durham wanted to revisit the past. They had come a long way, but they still had a long way to go.

The celebration in Washington continues through Sunday with marches, teach-ins and speeches.

Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech was delivered on August 28th, 1963. Saturday, Fayetteville's Steve Ferguson gave his own rendition of Dr. King's speech.

"One day my children will be judged by the content of their character," Ferguson said. "I have a dream"

His rendition was part of a family fun day at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park in Fayetteville. The event was a groundbreaking ceremony for a new park across the street from the current one on Blue Street.