ONLY ON 3: Wilmington woman recalls attending King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — August 28, 1963, was a day that changed our nation and our world forever. That was the day Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., shared his dreams with hundreds of thousands of people on the National Mall, including a Wilmington woman.

“It was, seemed like, millions of people there from every race, creed and color, and it was peaceful, very peaceful,” Maggie Johnson said, remembering Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech.

A Wilmington native, Johnson was a witness to history. In August 1963 she was working as a nurse in Washington, DC, and went with a group of friends to see a man she admired.

“He was such a lovely man, and he was for truth and for freedom and for people,” Johnson said. “Some of the things he talked about back there then, he could see it now.”

MLK’s talk of peace and harmony inspired her. Born in 1930, Johnson grew up in the Civil Rights era.

“Eeverybody was nice to you. You had some that didn’t and some that did, but that’s in every, every community,” Johnson said.

Johnson said while she believes the world has certainly made progress since Dr. King’s speech, she still thinks there is much progress to be made.

“Prayer changes things, and we need to be more loving and kind and understanding and helping, caring and sharing,” she said. “That’s what it’s all about.”

A dream still alive nearly half a century later.

Dr. King was scheduled to be right here in Wilmington the week after his assassination.

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