(WMC-TV) - Two Mid-South women who were standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial when Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave the historic "I Have A Dream" speech remember it like it was yesterday.
"All types of people," said Memphian Joan Nelson recalling the monumental event.
Nelson says everyone was there for a common purpose.
She met Dr. King a year before the march when he spoke at a rally in Memphis. In fact, Nelson says after that speech she was among a group of lunch counter sit-in participants invited to shake hands with Dr. King.
"I was kind of short," she said. "I was about two people back from him so I just jumped up and my kiss landed right here on his neck ... He just laughed," she said.
Memphian and Tennessee State Representative Johnnie Turner was also in the crowd on that day in 1963.
"I knew was I was revitalized I was re-energized when I saw the multitude of people," she said. "I had a feeling, I had a feeling that it was [historic]. I knew it was very important just by the sheer number of people."
Both women say this powerful, uplifting event helped put the focus on civil rights and the urgent need to fight for equality.
Turner, who also spent many years as the executive secretary of the NAACP, wants the upcoming 50th anniversary of the march to be an inspiration to young people. That is why she is taking her grandson.
"Because I want him to meet some of the heroes and 'sheroes' and realize that the privileges and rights that he takes for granted were earned on the backs the shoulders of these great persons," she said.
Nelson also thinks that it is important for young people of all races attend the anniversary and help keep Dr. King's dream alive.
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