Louisville man helps make history at Lincoln Memorial


by WHAS11


Posted on August 28, 2013 at 6:22 PM

Updated Wednesday, Aug 28 at 6:41 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A Louisville man helped to make history on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

He says his connection to Dr. King inspired him to take action and make sure the world didn't forget King's 'Dream Speech.'

Now there's an important spot with a special engraving thanks to Louisvillian Tom Williams.

He pushed legislators to put a marker where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stood and gave his most famous speech in Washington D.C.

In 2003, at the 40th anniversary of the march, the marker was unveiled and Williams spoke at the ceremony.

“My dear children Dr. King was right. The march on Washington will go down as the greatest demonstration for freedom in our nation’s history,” Williams, said.

“What was most special about it was Dr. King considered the Lincoln Memorial a hallowed spot. It was something he would have really appreciated to have an inscription there,” Williams, said.

Williams spoke to the public and students at the Louisville Bar Association on the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s speech.

They were moved by his actions and reminded of the power of Dr. Kings words.

“I think that was really great. He not only thought about doing it but he did it. Most people just think about doing things but they don't really act so I really think that is very cool what he did,” West End School student, Kenjii Thomas, said.

“The people that still believe in racism can still change off the speech. That one speech can change more and more people for generations,” Brent Cox, at West End School, said.

At UofL the magnitude of this day could be felt as well.

“We all knew the speech delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King sent chills up and down our spines and set our souls on fire, but who would imagine we just witnessed one of the greatest speeches ever delivered,” Raoul Cunningham, said.

Cunningham, along with the local NAACP, spoke on campus and marched with Dr. King that day in 1963.

He was a student then and walked with students on Wednesday.

For Williams and Cunningham, this anniversary marks a movement that continues.

WHAS11's Renee Murphy has more on this story in the video above.