Floridians remember MLK's speech 50 years ago


As Doctor King made the speech that would change the heart of a nation 50 years ago, Paul Simpson stood 50 feet away as engineer for American University radio.

"I was a 21-year-old kid and I was covering a radio remote for WAMU-FM, and I had no idea what to expect."

Simpson said he will never forget the way he felt that day.

"The energy was so incredible, and the power of that speech, that was divinely inspired, I believe," Simpson said.

Colin Brown, the president of JM Family Enterprises was 14-years-old when his father worked for the State Department.

"My father wanted me to experience it," said Brown. "He said, 'This is a major political statement and this is what this country is all about.'" 

He remembers that there was a concern there would be violence or riots, but found quite the opposite.

"We came down and joined the crowd as it was forming, everybody was in a festive mood," said Brown.

Brown watched in awe as Dr. King spoke.

"He had captured the moral ground, and he had linked together that moral fiber of all men are created equal, and you get measured by the content of your character, not the color of your skin. I will never forget that phase," said Brown.

Laurestine Bass listened to Dr. King's speech from a classroom 50 years ago. She was a teacher in segregated Live Oak, Florida. She wishes she had gone to the original, so last week she boarded a bus to commemorate the 50th anniversary.

"Going to the march made me realize a lot of things had changed, but a lot of things still need to change," said Bass.

Bass said she now plans to work on helping people restore their voting rights.

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