Locals reflect on 50th anniversary of 'I Have a Dream' speech
MLK made a stop in San Diego in 1964
Last Updated: 103 days ago
SAN DIEGO - "There has been much to celebrate, but there is so much more to do," Mario Lewis said from the Imperial Barber Shop on Wednesday as he watched the 50th anniversary celebration of Martin Luther King's speech.
Lewis, who has been cutting hair at the shop over the last seven years, said, "When I get customers like A.C. Mills in my chair, it's a living history lesson."
The 77-year-old Mills remembers traveling from San Diego to Georgia by bus in uniform in and on assignment for the Air Force.
"I remember seeing the signs that pointed to white one way and colored another. It was a humiliating experience," he said.
That was in 1956, but even a few years earlier in San Diego, he found issues.
"Where you're filming, on Imperial Avenue, blacks were not allowed to live there. There was no law, but it was unspoken," he said.
Nine months after Martin Luther King Jr. made that famous speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, he spoke at San Diego State University.
"It was May 29, 1964 in SDSU's open-air theater," said Seth Mallios, SDSU professor and self-described SDSU historian. "King touched on some of the things from the speech but he also began talking about world peace. He would later oppose the Vietnam War, but we had a hint of that in '64."
As for the legacy, Lewis said, "One of the most significant things said in the speech was that all men were created equal. A lot has happened for the good he said, but there's still work to do."
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