FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) - "It was always the sight of black only white only kinds of signs," said Dr. Dee McKinley, a Fort Wayne Community Schools teacher, said.
That was the way of life for McKinley, a way of life she said was getting old. When McKinley was 17-years-old, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Birmingham from New York. She and her classmates left school early to see him, against their parents' wishes.
"We marched, we sang, we chatted, you know we did all of that, and ended up going back a couple more times," McKinley said.
McKinley said the marches and rally were peaceful for the most part until the infamous Bull Connor, who was the Commissioner of Public Safety in Birmingham at the time, got involved.
"We were sprayed with a fire hose, and the dogs were set on the young people, and we were in Kelly Ingram Park, and I often times remember being sprayed with the fire hose that was so powerful it knocked me against a tree," McKinley said.
The iconic images from that day, including kids being beaten by police, gave life to the Civil Rights movement.
"The spark," McKinley said. "The movement really took off because when America saw that we were being sprayed by fire hoses and chased by dogs that turned that movement around."
Hundreds of students, including McKinley, were arrested that day in the spring of 1963 and made to sit in a cramped football field because all the jails were full of demonstrators. It's a memory McKinley says is as clear as yesterday.
"You don't think peaceful, you don't think let me just stay and take this, but that day we did," McKinley said.
However, she said seeing days like Monday when the first African-American president was sworn in for a second term on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day are moments that made her struggle worth it.
"We've come a long way, yet we have a long ways to go, but I don't think we have such a long way to go compared to where we've come from," McKinley said.
McKinley also said she normally celebrates the holiday by taking her students on yearly trips to various places around the country to tour iconic Civil Rights museums and markers, including the tree she was thrown against when she was 17-years-old.
Inventions were built by Purdue mechanical engineering students for a final class project.
U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly has traveled around the state throughout the week talking with workers at automotive plants.
A man wanted for burglary and theft has been found thanks to an anonymous tip.