San Diegans reflect on the dream - San Diego, California News Station - KFMB Channel 8 - cbs8.com

San Diegans reflect on the dream

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - Fifty years after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s landmark "I Have a Dream" speech, one of San Diego's most prominent African-American leaders reflects on the progress that has been made.

The Rev. George Walker Smith says life is a lot different these days.

"Things have changed over 50 years," Smith said.

He recalls watching Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s speech from his church office here in San Diego.

"Having grown up in the deep south, I knew of what he was talking," Smith said.

Smith met Dr. King several times, and broke his own countless barriers, becoming the first African American elected to the San Diego school board. Eventually, he became a national education leader, one of the countless men and women, President Obama referred to in his speech.

Smith believes Dr. King would be proud.

"There has been enough improvement for us to rejoice in that things have changed… and something like this will cause more people to want to change and to get rid of their own bigotry and prejudice," he said.

This has been a day of reflection of how far this nation has come. Never, Smith says, did he think it possible that the president commemorating this historic day would be a man of color.

"I feel very good to see a guy standing there, a black man that this nation had at one time his people in slavery, that was quite a treat," Smith said.

Members of Dr. King's family and three U.S. presidents also helped commemorate this day on the National Mall.

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