Local leaders gathered at the King County Courthouse today to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s I Have A Dream speech.

50 years after the March on Washington, the county that bears his name and likeness, we are still striving to making Dr. King's dream a reality, said King County Executive Dow Constantine.

King County was originally named after Vice President William Rufus DeVane King - a slave owner. But in 1986, county leaders adopted a motion to rename the county after Dr. King. The name change was officially recognized in 2005.

Dr. King stands as one today who has moved the moral compass of this nation to a point where it has to do good whether it wants to or not, said Rev. Dr Samuel McKinney.

McKinney - a pastor emeritus of Seattle's Mt. Zion Baptist Church - was friends and college classmates with Dr. King.

I was in Washington, DC 50 years ago today and heard Dr. King speak, said McKinney. I was right behind him, to his right, as he delivered the speech.

McKinney was on hand when Dr. King made his only visit to the Northwest in 1961. He spoke to large crowds at the University of Washington, Garfield High School and the Eagles Auditorium (now known as the ACT Theater).

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