Following the dedication of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial yesterday we’ve been asking what the legacy of Dr. King means to you and speaking to folks like Hannah, who was on the Mall when Dr. King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
A retired school teacher, Hannah remembers a tranquil day 48 years ago:
"It was just the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen," she says. "There were people as far as the eye could see but there was no trouble."
"Everyone was there to hear what Dr. King had to say. It wasn’t just black folks—it was white folks and folks from all different ethnic backgrounds interested in his speech. Everyone was united by the ideas of jobs and equality."
On the day, Hannah found herself right at the front of the crowd on the Mall, close to where the Dr. King memorial now stands.
"I was lucky enough to be stood by the podium where he was speaking. I was so close, if I’d thrown a piece of paper at him, I’d have hit him.
"It was something you never forget. Folks were sitting there eating their sandwiches and lunches. Nobody was raising their voice, nobody was fussing—everyone was united."
For Hannah, the new memorial on the Mall is a reminder that Dr. King’s legacy to our country is about so much more than his most famous speech:
"It rightly went down in history but a lot of us who were there had been involved in the civil rights movement before the March on Washington," Hannah adds. "It was a movement of no resistance, of no fighting but singing, chanting, and kindness."
In case you missed it, you can watch President Obama’s speech at the dedication of the memorial here.