If any of you are around when I have to meet my day, I don't want a long funeral. And if you get somebody to deliver the eulogy, tell them not to talk too long. Every now and then I wonder what I want them to say. Tell them not to mention that I have a Nobel Peace Prize, that isn't important. Tell them not to mention that I have three or four hundred other awards, that's not important. Tell him not to mention where I went to school.
I'd like somebody to mention that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. I'd like for somebody to say that day, that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody. I want you to say that day, that I tried to be right on the war question. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry. I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. I want you to say, on that day, that I did try, in my life, to visit those who were in prison. I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity.
Yes, if you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice; say that I was a drum major for peace; I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter. I won't have any money to leave behind. I won't have the fine and luxurious things of life to leave behind. But I just want to leave a committed life behind. And that's all I want to say.
Delivered at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA, on 4 February 1968
Martin Luther King, Jr.
This morning, I visited the birth home of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I visited his church. I visited his memorial.
The displays and exhibits were stirring. The art and tributes were also poignant. It was awesome to see groups of school children (integrated groups of children) touring the historic site. However, nothing stirred more than Dr. King himself. His sermons and speeches were playing in various spots. His words were inscribed throughout the sites.
He still speaks.
I spent some time looking at the reflecting pool that surrounds his memorial. At the top of the pool, fountains gently push water into the lower tiers of the pool. One pool flowed into another, until the flow pooled around the memorial at the bottom. The whole time I sat there watching, the water continued to flow and to flow... and it continues still.