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Phoenix remembers on 50th anniversary of MLK's 'Dream' speech

PHOENIX -- It's been a half-century to the day since Dr. Martin Luther King mesmerized the country with "I Have a Dream" speech during the March on Washington.

At a commemorative breakfast Wednesday morning at the downtown Hyatt, Gene Blue, who is the chairman of Arizona's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Committee, said significant progress has been made nationally and locally since 1963.

"Anyone who thinks we are truly 'free' at last really needs top take another look," he said.

Blue pointed to Arizona SB 1070 and other get-tough measures on illegal immigration as proof that there is still a way to go.

"It was not unification legislation. It was a division."

Andy Hardin vividly remembers that day. She took part in the historic event.

"I wanted to be in the know. I had parents that didn't want us to go into that, so we snuck out. We came home with a whole new concept about life in general."

She said it's hard to believe 50 years has flown by so quickly.

"African-Americans have progressed far beyond what we believed would happen back in 1963. People need life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We will get there eventually. It's a matter of when and how."

About the Author

Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Have covered some of the biggest stories in Arizona including nine of the top 10 largest wildfires in state history. The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. Covered the Yarnell Hill Tragedy in June 2013 that left 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots dead.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges and Lonesome Dove.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, Texas Longhorns, The University of Montana Grizzlies.


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