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Little did Deneta know that she would fall in love with Bryan in a city so pivotal to the civil rights movement.

Bryan planned an entire weekend of sightseeing for the two of them, but it was something that could never be planned that really caught Deneta's attention. "I was surprised throughout our seeing all the different sites that I just saw how much they touched him personally. I guess I didn't really realize that it would. [I thought] these people look like my grandmother and my aunts and uncles and me, and so it must affect me more," she says. "But, you know, he loves his country too. It just helped me see him in a different way, I guess. I saw a little piece of his heart."

Bryan says Martin Luther King's vision continues in Montgomery even today. "One of the neat things about Montgomery is the that Dr. King's words really echo wherever you go, and coming to the church where he delivered many of those words, it's pretty special," he says. "It just boggles my mind to think how different our lives would be today, what would we be like as a nation if [the] civil rights movement hadn't in many ways redeemed us."

It took this fateful visit for some of Dr. King's most famous words to ring true for Deneta. "I think about Dr. King's speeches and all the words that he said about being judged not by the color of our skin, but by the content of our character, and I was attracted to Bryan's character and attracted to who he was as a person and realized I had been judging him by the color of his skin for 10 years and decided to that I needed to let that go."

And she did—Bryan and Deneta married on October 7, 2007.
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FROM: The Dream Lives: A Martin Luther King Day Special
Published on March 14, 2008

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