MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Almost 50 years ago, hundreds of thousands gathered at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

It was a march to fight for jobs and equal opportunities, featuring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who gave his groundbreaking “I Have a Dream” speech.

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“We were proud because the people were finally standing up, and they were coming from every corner in America to stand up,” Spike Moss said.

Spike Moss was only 18 when he joined a group of Minnesotans who traveled by car to the March on Washington.

He knew he had to be at that landmark protest, and hearing King’s monumental speech inspired him.

“At the time we were suffering so bad,” Moss said.

That moment ended up molding him into the Freedom Fighter he would become. For 40 years, Moss fought for civil rights in Minnesota. He even led the delegation of 10,000 back to Washington, 10 years after the original march.

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Today, Moss has mixed feelings about an anniversary March on Washington, 50 years later. Still, he and hundreds of other Minnesotans will be there for the anniversary event on Saturday.

“Fifty years went by, but 50 years of change was not in there,” Moss said.

Moss said the black community has made progress, but has not achieved the dream Dr. King spoke of.

“It pains me that we paid such a price to be insulted the way we are insulted, “ Moss said.

Moss said the insults come in the form of high unemployment for black men, a huge education disparity between blacks and whites and the alarming rate of black-on-black crime.

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He hopes this next generation learns from the past so the future can be brighter.

Reg Chapman