‘Dream’ speech remembered at library

Dozens of area people gathered at the Marshalltown Public Library Wednesday for an event to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the “I Have a Dream” speech by Martin Luther King Jr.

The event featured a short video about the life of King, the sharing of memories of the speech and thoughts about race relations, and other ways to learn about the man who meant so much to the civil rights movement.

“This is just a very momentous day that it’s been 50 years,” said Joa LaVille of the library who organized the event.

LaVille said the speech is still relevant today.

“I just think it’s so relevant,” she said. “It’s as relevant as it was back then in a different way today.”

Fred Wyngarden, of Marshalltown, said he was minister in Michigan on the day of speech, which was Aug. 28, 1963. He said a speech like that was long overdue at the time and it still has an impact.

“That’s why we’re here today,” Wyngarden said.

He does feel more can be done in the way of race relations, even with so much progress made in the last 50 years.

“I still think there’s a lot of things we need to do about prejudice and racial tension,” Wyngarden said.

One of the youngest in attendance was David Alvarez, 12, a seventh grader at Miller Middle School. He has learned of the impact King and his speech had on the country.

“I think he was a great person who helped a lot of people,” Alvarez said.

LaVille said libraries are more and more becoming places to build civil engagement and talk about these types of issues.