Jackson man remembers witnessing Dr. Martin Luther King's fam - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Jackson man remembers witnessing Dr. Martin Luther King's famous speech

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By  Julie Straw - bio | email | twitter

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - "I have a dream" was a phrase that echoed throughout Washington, D.C. back on August 28th, 1963.  Forty-seven 47 years later a small group gathers in Jackson to remember the historic event.

"We had been able to mobilize such a large number of people to come together in a march to fight for something we deserved," said Hollis Watkins.

He was one of about 200,000 people who joined in the March on Washington.  A 22-year-old Watkins listened to every word Dr. Martin Luther King Junior uttered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, but did not know then how famous that 16 minute speech would become.

"To me it was just Dr. King giving another one of his eloquent speeches.  Most people didn't understand or realize it was not his dream as an individual, but he was articulating the feeling, the attitude of many thousands and thousands of people that he had been working with," said Watkins.

He worked at the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in Leflore County.  Watkins said he was even thrown in jail for trying to register blacks to vote.  Watkins has seen a lot of change in the last several decades and said the fight continues.

"We got a long way to go.  I think a lot has been accomplished, but we still have an extremely long way to go," said Watkins.

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