MLK 50 event stirs political pot in NC

MLK 50 event stirs political pot in NC


by GLENN COUNTS / NBC Charlotte

Bio | Email | Follow: @GCountsWCNC

Posted on August 25, 2013 at 1:44 PM

Updated Sunday, Aug 25 at 2:00 PM

WASHINGTON -- Fifty years after Martin Luther King, Junior’s famous march on Washington, more than 100,000 people gathered in our nation's capitol.

They came from every village, every hamlet, and every town; they were black, white, brown, Asian, Jewish and gay.

"This fiftieth-year commemoration is another step in the right direction to change things," said Melvin Poole who heads the Rock Hill Chapter of the NAACP.

Despite the festive atmosphere on the Mall, Poole isn't sure America is ready for a new energized movement on civil rights.

"Unfortunately not, and I agree changes in voting is a roll back," he said.

Glenn Hall and his wife drove up from Charlotte on Friday.

"The first march-- I was a kid watching on TV [and] saw Dr. King and didn't quite know what it was all about," he said.

"I think my generation kind of lost the message after the riots and a little success; we became materially-oriented."

Hall was glad to see all the young people who were in the crowd, like Olivia Bennett, who got on the bus with her mom in Rock Hill.

"I think people should be treated equally and fairly," said the 7-year-old. Her mother is Antoinette Godfrey.

"I want her to know that things are still happening, that she needs to understand that not all people are bad, she just needs to know we all need to be treated equal," said Godfrey.

The Reverend Al Sharpton was the headliner for the anniversary, and got the biggest reaction from locals when he singled out North Carolina for recent voting law changes.

"I'm retired now so I have time to make trouble, and my plan is to go back to the Durham area," said Kitty Williston.

She is 71-years old and was a student in North Carolina during the Civil Rights Movement. She now lives in New York but wants to fight the changes in the Tar-heel State.

"My plan is to register people to get voter ID," she said.