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Three years before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his 'I Have A Dream' speech in Washington D.C., he delivered the first version of it in Brownsville at the Hampton House Motel, a popular social hub for African-Americans during the 1950s and 1960s. NBC 6's Betty Yu spoke with Enid Pinkney, CEO of the Historic Hampton House Community Trust, about King's impact on South Florida.
Three years before Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his 'I Have A Dream' speech in Washington D.C., he delivered the first version of it in Brownsville at the Hampton House Motel, a popular social hub for African-Americans during the 1950s and 1960s.
"Miami was like a springboard for his testing how that would go over, so our community has had a part in that," said Enid Pinkney, CEO of the Historic Hampton House Community Trust.
Pinkney is working to restore the historic landmark at 4200 NW 27 Avenue. It was once a hotspot and safe haven for many famous figures including Dr. King, Sammy Davis, Jr., Muhammad Ali and thousands of locals and out-of-towners.
"This is where Dr. King used to hangout when he was in Miami," Pinkney said. "We have a picture of him in his trunks in the swimming pool at the Hampton House, where he relaxed."
It was also a place for work. King met with civil rights organizers to discuss civil disobedience, according to Pinkney.
"They used to plan strategies as to how they would do sit ins," she said.
King spoke specifically about the struggle for justice and equality between the black community and Cuban refugees in the early 60s.
"He hoped that this would not be something that would interfere with black people getting jobs - that both blacks and the cubans would be fighting over menial jobs," Pinkney said.
His goal to temper those race relations in Miami was like a prophecy of what was to come.
At an interfaith prayer service at Barry University Wednesday, students said America has come a long way.
"I'm thankful to Martin Luther King's dream that now we have at least a certain amount of freedom. We can go to school, we don't have to worry about walking into the wrong places," student Sashine Douillon said.
Today, young people who did not witness that moment in history, can still feel its impact.
"I find it inspiring the fact that somebody had the chance to stand up for all black people and for white people for us to join together," student Norma Buyund said.
Students put King's journey into perspective - 50 years to the day he gave an unforgettable voice to the struggle for jobs and justice.
"This day means freedom and I can walk around and be friends people of different nationalities, races and it's accepted," student Joleaha Dotter said.
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