Local "radical" reflects on time with King

Dean Robb first met Martin Luther King in March of 1963.

People celebrated the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dreamâ?? speech Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

Northern Michiganâ??s Dean Robb was there in 1963 for the civil rights March on Washington.

Robb said being part of the crowd at the National Mall back was thrilling. Although he may not remember some of the details, he said Doctor King's speech is something he will never forget.

â??I was probably a hundred feet from King when he gave that speech,â?? said Dean Robb. â??Maybe not that far, I was right down in front.â??

In 1963, Robb took the eight hour train ride from Detroit to Washington, D.C. to be a part of March on Washington.

He was a lawyer for the first inter-racial law firm in the country. As a lawyer, he said he was trying to help people up north get involved in what was happening down south.

â??It was a disgrace. America at that time was supposedly the leader of the free world and yet we were practicing these terrible practice in our own country. That got me going,â?? said Robb.

The speech gave Robb goose bumps.

â??When he kept telling us what his dream was, you felt that you were dreaming right along with him. You're hoping that what he's saying is going to happen,â?? said Robb. He said King's mission of love and non-violence surged through the crowd.

â??Everyone was proud to be there, and thought we were doing the right thing. We were moving, as it turned out, we were moving the country forward on this issue,â?? said Robb.

Robb said the country has come a long way from when he was a kid, but there is still work to be done.

Robb recently took a group of kids from Leelanau County down south as part of a freedom tour. He said seeing the younger generations bridging cultures made him emotional.

â??I was almost a few times in tears, just watching these kids interact. How natural it seemed that they were all getting along,â?? said Robb.

Robb offers this advice to anyone who wants to make a difference: be willing to step out of your comfort zone and dare to be radical.

Robb's son wrote a biography about him called â??An Unlikely Radical.â??

To see the interview with Robb in it's entirety, click here.

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