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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.”