TULSA - Tulsan Joseph Bias is among the millions of Americans celebrating the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington and the iconic "I Have a Dream" speech by Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
At 16 years old, Bias attended the march in the nation's Capitol. He and his father made the trip from Savannah, Ga. by train the Tuesday before, arriving mid-morning for the event the country's now honoring 50 years later.
Bias says he remembers the energy emanating from the thousands of Americans gathered from various walks of life. He remembers being overwhelmed by the atmosphere.
Bias says he and his father sat about a third of the way back from the Lincoln Memorial along the reflecting pool. He recalls being able to clearly see each of the musical performances and speakers, including Dr. King.
For the first time, he says, blacks and whites came together with a common purpose.
"Black people and white people were together without anger," said Bias. "They were together as human beings, and we were sharing our food. We were sharing our conversation. We were singing songs. That was one of the greatest things."
Bias' run-ins with King didn't end with the Washington march. Upon his death, Bias would sing at the civil rights leader's funeral as a glee club and quartet member at Morehouse College, King's alma mater.
Today, more than a half-century after his civil rights journey began, Bias is still urging the importance of unity while remaining hopeful for the future.
"We are given by God certain privileges and rights and freedom to pursue life and pursue happiness," he said. "And ultimately if we don't do it together, we'll never achieve it apart."
Bias now serves as the music minister at First United Methodist Church in Tulsa.
Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Also in the headlines
It's Day 3 of our 12 Days of Christmas contest presented by KJRH Channel 2 and Moody's Jewelry! Enter now for your chance to win a white pearl leather bracelet!
Pictures of the first winter storm of the season, Dec. 5 and 6.
KJRH 2 Works for You and Moody's Jewelry is giving away over $4,000 in jewelry from Dec. 9 through Dec. 20. Go to www.kjrh.com/contests to enter this 12 Days of Christmas giveaway.
A few of the Week 14 NFL games were played in snow storms.