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Chattanooga NAACP President: Dr. King's speech was something to behold

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

It's a moment in history James Mapp remembers well.

"I was on the north side of the reflection pool, not 50 feet from where Dr. King spoke," said James Mapp.

The day before, he boarded a bus from Chattanooga to Washington.

"We slept on the bus, going and coming, and we did not complain," said Mapp.

Mapp says it was a somber atmosphere as they lined up to march.

"See we had a goal in mind. Our goal was jobs and freedom. And we were somber. There were not playful moods because we were there on business," said Mapp.

Mapp says he wasn't expecting the speech that came next.

"You had about 6 men who spoke and all of them had good messages. But Dr. King's was the one that resonated," said Mapp.

Since that day, Mapp has continued trying to fullfill King's dream.

"Once a black president got in there then we saw attitudes that have been hidden. I'm not saying the majority but there were enough to create an atmosphere that set us back many years," said Mapp.

That's why at the age of 86 he is once again leading the local chapter, hoping to share a moment that inspired his life's work with others.

"It was something to behold," said Mapp.

Mapp became the Chattanooga NAACP President in the 1950's when he says the president elect refused to take the position.

He served 20 years. This year he was once again named local chapter president.

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