ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- It was the defining speech delivered by one of our nation's most admired men. Fifty years ago on Wednesday Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. shared his dreams with a quarter of a million people from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
A crowd of tens of thousands pressed up against barricades on the National Mall to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the "I Have a Dream Speech" where Dr. King described his dreams of freedom and equality arising from a land of slavery and hatred. Rockford NAACP Representative Harlan Johnson hitch hiked from his home in Hyde Park, Chicago to D.C. to be there for the historical speech.
"It's just really rather electrifying and marvelous and it made a big impact on me to the point that I spent the following summer in Mississippi," Johnson said.
The wake of that speech Dr. King was named the Time magazine's Man of the Year. A year later he became the youngest person ever to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.