Dr. Arthur Hilson, pastor of the New Hope Baptist Church in Portsmouth and a social studies teacher at Portsmouth High School, was also in Washington for King's 1963 speech.
"I, for one, feel overjoyed to live long enough to see this," Hilson
said King would probably feel the same way, but also would have been the first to say that the country's work isn't done — especially on the issue of economic justice.
"People talk a lot about the "I Have a Dream" speech, but I wonder why they rarely mention the first 547 words of the speech which was about the 'uncashed check' of economic and racial injustice," he
King was asking, 'What is America doing?'","
"Things are certainly different and the world is looking at us differently," Hilson
believes one reality connects King to Obama.
"The way our economy works, the way the government works, doesn't meet the economic needs of our people."
During the King holiday and Obama inauguration celebrations, Hilson said he will think a lot about those who served — and those who died — on the front lines of the civil rights struggles of the past century.