MLK Memorial visitors reflect on past and future of civil rights

Source: NBC12
Source: NBC12
Updated: Apr. 4, 2018 at 8:22 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWBT) - Thousands of families have traveled from around the country and the world to be in Washington, D.C. on the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's assassination. Many of them are visiting the MLK Memorial on the National Mall to reflect on his legacy.

Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963 was delivered on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall to a crowd of 250,000 and a broadcast audience.

Half a century later, not far away on the National Mall, millions of people come to the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial to honor the impact he had on our lives and on our history.

Families like the Chatain-Godbolt's, a mixed-race family that traveled from Albany, New York...

"Really just reflecting about our history, where his family came from and my family came from is pretty diverse, and so thinking about the impact Martin Luther King has had on all our families," said mother Jennifer Chatain.

"What he's paved the way for us to do. Being able to have the freedom to speak out and voice our opinions," said daughter Olivia Malone.

...and the Evans family from Olympia, Washington.

"I'm taken back by it so much, and we traveled so many miles just to get here," said Ebed Evans, Jr., who said he helped raise money to build the memorial.

His daughter Chloe Evans noted, "It's really inspiring for me, because Martin Luther King taught that everyone can make change, no matter what their skin color."

King's memorable words, etched into the memorial's stone walls, are now being etched into young minds, like that of 10-year-old Amelie Johnson of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

"I really like the one, 'Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,'" said Johnson. "It means a small thing can impact a lot of people."

Many visitors are reflecting on how far America has come, and how far it has yet to go.

"Work undone, you know like a lot of people have commented on. It's disappointing that we're not further along," said Amelie's father Mark Johnson.

"I think we need to work more to come together as a nation and become united," said Jama Riz of Bloomfield, New Jersey.

"If we could all live life that he wanted us to try to live and everything, I think this place would be a much better place. Peace, harmony, and non-violence," said Randy Bray of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

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