Cleveland: Residents, attendees remember MLK Jr. speech

3:59 PM, Aug 28, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Cleveland civil rights groups, residents and some who attended Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's famous "I have a dream" speech are remembering its 50th anniversary Wednesday.

Wednesday night there was to be a 6 p.m. rally on Mall A, followed by a march to the Cleveland Public Auditorium for a celebration of the Jobs and Freedom historic event.

Ninety-four-year-old Willa Morgan of Cleveland attended the Washington, D.C., rally in 1963.

"We didn't have no idea we were making history," she said.

"We went so that we would have equal rights like everybody else ... that's what we wanted to hear. Dr. King, that's what we wanted to hear, " she said.

She says there's been a lot of progress made but adds schools, poverty and community trust remain big issues.

"It's in a mess. One group doesn't like the other group. There's too much hatred. ... When I sit here, I look at that TV and I just shake my head. Do you think we'll ever break that racial barrier?" she asks a reporter.

Another Clevelander who attended the march, former Cleveland Judge Sara Harper, is to speak at Wednesday night's event, as is Congresswoman Marcia Fudge.

It's also billed as an intergenerational event, with a symbolic torch being passed to young people.

Marcia Mockabee, president of the Urban League, the event's main civil rights group sponsor, said the idea is to teach young people they have a responsibility of giving back and being connected to the community.

"We can't give up. We have to be very vigilant and have to make sure we keep making progress," she said.

Mockabee says the Urban League, NAACP and Southern Christian Leadership Conference hope the commemorative event starts to define new goals, seeking improvements in jobs, education and social justice.

"Urgency, empowerment and an action agenda" are what she hopes is created.

There will be followup meetings in the weeks to come, she pledged.


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