Site of MLK 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech

Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King’s birthday is actually January 15th; we celebrate his legacy today. But the day I remember is August 28, 1963 when he talked about a dream he had. I was 16 and heard excerpts on the radio, then we turned on the tv to see newsreels. That brilliant voice resonated through the scratchiness of the newsreel technology. And 250,000  people were with him in person at the March on Washington not to mention the unprecedented coverage from the media. I was stunned at the power of his words and have remained inspired by his words ever since. 

Reading some of these today I took time to see how I can put these words in actions. I have done so in the past, still do now, and see how my friends and family and neighbors do too. I am heartened. 

A Sampling of quotes of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

 “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

“Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

The view that mesmerizes – The Stone of Hope

“Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve…You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.”

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as a Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, ‘Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.’”

Visiting the Stone of Hope

The first view entering the memorial

The view that mesmerizes – The Stone of Hope

As you look back exiting the memorial







When Hank and I visited Washington DC in 2015, we spent a lot of time at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. It was a gorgeously sunny day and the granite gleam of the Stone of Hope held me mesmerized and emotionally moved. How can I not vow, by my words, to put his legacy into action?

Thanks to Karin Abarbanel who sends gems about words regularly.  My post uses some of her quotes from MLK. 



Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s retired from professional writing gigs after 30 years of teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. In retirement she writes to inspire, to connect with folks, and for the pure enjoyment of it. Ethel enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Zoom gatherings, and anywhere there’s a mic.