Remembering 'I Have a Dream' 50 Years Later

POSTED: 06:40 PM PDT Aug 28, 2013    UPDATED: 09:33 PM PDT Aug 28, 2013 
MLK, I Have a Dream speech

The March on Washington and the "I Have a Dream" speech transformed the nation.

It was 50 years ago and Isaac Garrett remembers exactly where he was as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

"We all have a duty and responsibility to see that Dr. King's dream is fulfilled," he said.

Garrett is the president of the Martin Luther King Jr. committee in Santa Barbara.

Born and raised in Louisiana, he headed to California in hopes of leaving racism behind.

"I left the South and really thought I was going to get rid of that but then after I tried to begin a life here in Santa Barbara I found that it was here as well," he said.

In 1963, he remembers watching the speech with his wife at his home.

"It gave me great hope," said Garrett.

Now, 50 years later, he watches as people remember the struggle.

"It makes me feel good but I think it would make me feel better if they remembered that the following day, the following week, the following month, throughout the year," he said.

To keep the history alive, students at the UCSB are taught what segregation meant for the people dealing with it.

"We try to make the connections between what happened then in the 1900s and how it created a mindset," said Dr. Jeffrey Stewart.

Stewart is the department chair for the department of black studies. He said the nation has come a long way, but there is still work to do.

"Recently the Cheerios commercial. Essentially they showed a mixed race couple in a Cheerios commercial and the racist reaction was astounding," said Stewart. "So it shows you once again how racism diverts us from the real issues that confront us."

Both Stewart and Garret believe more education is needed to keep the country moving forward.