NEWPORT NEWS, Va.(WAVY) - On August 28, 1963, Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous "I Have A Dream" speech, and many commemorative events are planned leading up to it's 50th anniversary. On such event has locals heading to the nation's capital next week.
Anne Mason, a Virginia Peninsula woman, was crowd of 250,000 people that heard the famous speech first hand.
Back then Mason was 26-years-old and traveled to Washington D.C. with a group from Princeton University. She said she almost fainted in the summer heat that day, but then there was a speaker that caught her attention.
"I was getting a little hot and tired, and all of a sudden he did the "I Have A Dream" speech, and you just, it was like the best vibration you've ever felt in your life," she said.
Mason was about 10 rows back from the podium and had a great view of King.
"When he spoke about the mountain top, it was like vibrations going up and down your spine. It was thrilling. It was absolutely thrilling," she said.
Mason wears a button from that 1963 march and is planning to attend the commemorative march next week. So is Andrew Shannon, who was almost two during that first "March on Washington."
"50 years later there's still a call to action for jobs, justice and equality in our local community, in our state and certainly nationally," Shannon said.
Shannon is a local president of an organization Dr. King started and said the message from him that day of peace and non-violence is still relevant.
Mason said she left the march all those years ago with a new zeal in her life.
"A determination to make a difference, to not allow the horrendous abuse and disrespect," Mason said.
Shannon organized a bus trip for the event next week.
Dr. King's daughter Bernice is expected in Newport News in two weeks for the Southeast Community Day Festival.
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