Celebrating The Legacy Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. moved the conscience of America, leaving a lasting legacy that continues to inspire this country, and her newest immigrants like me.

Dr. King’s civil rights convictions were based upon a profound belief in the goodness of man and an undying faith in the power of American democracy. .

These truths give his speeches a lasting message, their words spoken with such fervor they will inspire us for generations to come.

This summer my family visited Washington DC.  My eight year old son was impressed by the towering statue of his hero.  Having learned about the Civil Rights leader at school, the memorial seemed to make history more meaningful for him.

When my children recount their school lessons and talk of King’s achievements, they talk as if these events happened in the ancient past, but truly it was only yesterday.  He was born just a few short years before my father, and was shot when I was only three years old.  This is recent history.


“Martin Luther King’s dream was the American Dream. His

quest is our quest: the ceaseless striving to live out our true

creed. Our history has been built on such dreams and labors.”

– President Bill Clinton.


I think it is very fitting that President Obama’s inauguration today falls on the day we honor Martin Luther King, Jr.  1997 is the only other year a presidential inauguration coincided with the King holiday.

John Lewis, Congressman for Georgia, worked alongside King during the civil rights struggle.   His words ring true when reflecting upon today’s inauguration:


“If it hadn’t been for Martin Luther King Jr.,

there would be no Barack Obama as president.”

– John Lewis, Congressman


And so, as we reflect today, I pray that our President will lead this country inspired by the teachings and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Slán agus beannacht leat!

(Goodbye and blessings)



Irish American Mom

A Lesson For My Children From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.




  1. What a nice infographic you’ve posted. I, too, visited the King Memorial in D.C. and it was one of the highlights of my trip to the capital. I am proud to now live in the city of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birth.

    Happy Inauguration Day!
    Mairead, in Atlanta, Georgia

  2. “I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” Martin Luther King is a true American, don’t ruin his legacy by paring him with the current president who divides us so. I say judge a man by the content of his character not the color of his skin, which conversely means you can criticize a man by his character or lack there of. Mairead you do not have to publish this comment, but open your eyes, Martin Luther King fought for human rights, Obama fights to take them away.
    Sorry for being political,

    • Brian – I appreciate your sentiments, but I did not write this piece as an acknowledgement of President Obama’s achievements or lack thereof, during his first term. I still think it is fitting that as the first African American president, he should be inaugurated to his second term on Martin Luther King Day. Without the Civil Rights movement, he would never have become president. I think my prayer for our president to lead this country inspired by the teachings and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. applies to all of our senators and congressmen, no matter their party affiliation. I believe Dr. King would encourage bipartisan cooperation and dialogue to move this country forward. Thanks for your comment, and never worry about a little bit of politics being thrown into the mix.
      All the best,

      • Thank you, Mairead, I felt I was a bit abusive in my comment after seeing it. In the end the Constitution and founding documents are the guaranteer of civil rights, A nice tribute to Mr. Kings legacy in your piece, and as always I am jealous of your wordsmanship

        • Brian – Your first comment was grand – never worry about expressing an opinion here. I wish my husband appreciated my wordsmanship as much as you do – he usually just rolls his eyes to heaven and says “not another Geary theory.”
          All the best,

  3. I feel it’s a mistake to focus too much on MLK. That decade started with a Catholic president, something far far FAR more unlikely than opening up the vote. Yes, he is a very good touchstone or lightening rod with which to draw the minds of today into the very core of that period, none better in fact. But to make him a State hero is to lift him above and bring him into the very places he was fighting against.
    To fully grasp the ‘official’ mind of that era one must think apartheid South Africa, which was the last hold out of the thinking. Here in Ireland we had it too. It’s one of the sources that provided the architecture for the abuse of the little babies in places like Letterfrack by utter scum.

    • Vince – I think after living in the American south for over fifteen years, I have come to appreciate the magnitude of Dr. King’s achievements. I agree that Kennedy’s election as President was also a monumental event. We have not had a Catholic president since. The one potential candidate Robert Kennedy met the same fate as his brother and Martin Luther King, Jr. We have come a long way, but we still have further to travel on this journey.
      All the best,

  4. I always look forward to your posts on American holidays- I love the different perspectives you bring to them. It’s sad, but I don’t think I even knew there was a MLK monument…And I really would have never guessed that it’d be in D.C! That’s a neat thing to add to the traveling bucket list. I do have to say that I was saddened when I found out about the Presidents inauguration being on MLK day. It was a day to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., not President Obama.

    • Aimee – Glad you enjoy my new American interpretations of American holidays. I hope that King’s messages of ending poverty and working in unison for the common good, were highlighted a little bit more for the public this year, purely because of the Presidential inauguration falling on this day. I hope that all of our leaders will take stock of MLK’s lessons and use them to work together to solve this country’s problems. Thanks for stopping by.
      Best wishes,

      • It’s unfortunately somewhat hard to see when taxes are increasing for the middle classes -with more to come. However, hope is still there and available for all of us. Hope you guys are keeping warm on these cold, cold mornings!

        • Aimee – It sure has been cold these past few mornings. But it is winter, so we shouldn’t be surprised by the cold. “Hope is always there and available for all of us” – I like that.

          • Maybe it’s just not normal to us yet. :) Last winter (our first in KY) was pretty mild.

            • Aimee – Last winter was exceptionally mild. Six years ago when my triplets were born we were all perished. I remember bringing them home from the hospital in single digit temperatures with snow everywhere. Overall this winter has been pretty mild, but I know I shouldn’t speak too soon.

  5. Mairead, thanks for sharing the timeline. I had forgotten that African Americans didn’t have the right to vote until 1965. Appalling. I was 10 years old then — like you said, this is recent history. I like this quote by MLK:

    “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too big a burden to bear.”

    • Cheryl – I really like that MLK quote too. It truly is appalling that all Americans were not granted the right to vote until 1965, but I truly believe our future is bright, because of the founding principles of this nation.
      All the best,

  6. One thing, hardly anyone ever mentions that he was a preacher. Everything he did was as a viewpoint of a Christian. Maybe this cannot be stated so simply because you have to be so careful in public schools.
    Also, I am a native Georgian, so I feel pride that he was from Georgia.

    • Kay – Thank you for pointing out how Dr. King’s words were founded in his strong faith and belief in the goodness of man. He was a preacher and this is clearly evident in his speeches. You are justifiably proud of his Georgia roots.
      Take care,

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