Three area residents recall King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech

Across the nation people are looking back in time this week as 50 years have passed since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech.

The Rev. Early Waller of Friendship Baptist Church in Dunkirk said of the iconic day, “I was rather young. I was moved by the size of the crowd and how much attention Martin Luther King Jr. seemed to generate when he did speak.”

Waller spoke of growing up in Okolona, Mississippi.

“I knew what it was like (to be free), but I don’t think I ever looked at it in the context in which he laid it out. It really meant something.”

Waller said, “When we look back today, we can see how much we lack without Martin Luther King Jr. around. We really need to be watchful and paying attention to the gains that have been made.”

Joyce Harvard Smith, Coordinator of Volunteer and Community Services at SUNY Fredonia said, “MLK taught me the importance of higher education and that it was important to be involved in the community.”

Smith added, “MLK always talked about making a difference. It’s important to make a difference.”

President of the Dunkirk-Fredonia Branch NAACP Loretta Slaton Torain said, “If I listen to it today, I can see we have moved forward, but there’s still a lot of work to be done.”