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The Effects of Fatherlessness within the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In Fatherless, Lifestyle, Uncategorized on February 18, 2014 at 8:23 pm

The King Family

The King Family

After reading the news report about Martin Luther King III & Dexter King suing their sister Bernice over their father’s personal Bible and Noble Peace Prize Medal for the purpose of selling it, a serious question arose in my heart.  Is Martin Luther King III and Dexter King showing signs of Fatherlessness?

I boldly declare… YES!

Now let me say, this blog is not to taint the legacy of Dr. King by casting a negative light on his role as a father, but it is the explore why the only sons of the greatest Civil Rights leader of our lifetime would do everything in their power to destroy their fathers legacy for monetary gain.

When defining fatherlessness, we find there are 4 prominent definitions:

  1. A child who has never met their father
  2. A child who doesn’t live with their biological father
  3. A child whose father has died
  4. A child who lives with a father who is disengaged

We know Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. died at 39 years old, which would make his sons 11 & 7 years old at the time of his death. And, just because they are not criminals, drug abusers, or didn’t drop out of school doesn’t mean they are not feeling the effects of their father’s death in a way that makes them behave questionably. Fatherless children are 20 times more likely to have behavioral disorders.

And, in our imaginary world of the perfect family, we believe we know Dr. King’s children undoubtedly had a support system that would have kept them from feeling fatherless. But now we must ask several questions. Before his death was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. able to fight for the civil freedoms of the African American race and continue to stay engaged with his children without his sons feeling abandoned by him producing resentment within their hearts? And… Was the support system after his death enough?

I  understand Dr. King’s drive to fight for the freedoms of the African American race in order for his children to be afforded the same freedoms as other races. However, did his fight for freedom cause him to abandon his family figuratively and create a resentment in the hearts of his children? The unfortunate answer to the question could be… yes. In my heart I acknowledge the prestige and honor their father’s legacy has afforded them, myself, and others. But I must also acknowledge the weight it must be to carry the mantle of being the sons of the good Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Lets address why I believe their resentment of their father and his legacy is the manifestation of fatherlessness. Resentment is the feeling of bitterness, anger, or hatred resulting from a real or imagined wrong. The key difference between resentment, anger and contempt stems from how a person perceives the status of the wrong-doer. Resentment is directed at people with perceived higher status. I am sure the pressure to live up to their father and his legacy was too great which place him on a pedestal he rightfully deserved. Would we dare to think that Martin Luther King III & Dexter King could resent their father for what he accomplished for African Americans? The obvious answer is… No. Would we dare to think Martin Luther King III & Dexter King would have resentment, some anger, and a nice helping of bitterness in their hearts pertaining to the fact their father pioneered the very movement that caused his death which inevitably removed him from their lives leaving them fatherless?  Now there might be some truth to that question!

If I possess resentment in my heart, how would I behave? How would I handle the legacy and the things inherited? Lets take a look at how Dr. King’s legacy and belongings have been handled.

Over the years we have heard rumors and seen the realities of how the “Estate of Martin Luther King Jr.,”which is managed by Martin Luther King III, has diminished the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. for monetary gain.  

  • You cannot use any part of the “I Have a Dream” speech without paid permission.
  • In 2006 the siblings put 10 thousand items including handwritten papers up for auction; then Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin raised 32 million dollars to purchase the lot and keep the artifacts available for scholars and the public.
  • They have sued Dr. King’s close friend activist and singer Harry Belafonte to get ownership of memorabilia Dr. King gave him, including a speech the civil rights icon wrote in Belafonte’s New York apartment.
  • They have blocked Andrew Young, who was on the balcony when Dr. King was assassinated, from using film footage of Young marching with Dr. King. Young says he recognizes the family’s need to protect the Martin Luther King estate but says, “ I will not give up my right to the legacy for their right to the legacy.”

Some might see these moments in time not as opportunities for monetary gain, but as the preservation of their father’s legacy. After this recent fiasco, I would have to disagree. I see two fatherless sons resentful at the legacy left for them in the absence of their father!

Today we pray for the legacy, the family of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the effects fatherlessness is having on the family In Jesus Name, Amen!

Written by Torri J. Evans, Founder & CEO of The Fatherless Generation Foundation http://www.tfgf.org

No More Tug-Of-War

In Fatherless, Lifestyle, Single Parenting, Uncategorized, Youth Programs on August 30, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Image

Tug-Of-War has been taking place since ancient Egypt and it used to be an Olympic Sport. But what is the purpose of Tug-Of-War? According to Webster’s Dictionary Tug-of- War is a struggle for supremacy or control usually involving two antagonists; adversaries, opponents, or contenders.

Where am I going with this? How do two parents play “Tug-Of-War” with their child? I know things can get pretty complicated when two people decide to go their separate ways. And it can truly become UGLY when children are involved. BUT… I am puzzled by the idea that one parent feels the need to usurp authority… control over the other  through force by becoming their adversary and using the child as the “rope” by which they accomplish their goal. Yeah. It happens. Way too often.

In working with fatherless children through The Fatherless Generation Foundation Inc. I have encountered all aspects of fatherlessness. And we often see a child having no access to their biological father because of the inability of one parent to let go of their issues in order to allow the other a fair chance to build their own relationship.

Have you ever seen an actual tug-of-war competition? It is a brutal game where the opponents can get rope burn or even worse.  Cbsnews.com says, “It may be a childhood game, but tug-of-war injuries can be serious and lead to permanent consequences.” So what happens when the “rope” you are using is your child? You find yourself wrapping your hands around them, tying knots, or entangle yourself to them in a very dysfunctional way to secure your grip. BUT… when you wrap your hands around, tie knots, or even entangle yourself, you place all at risk to lose a finger, hand, or even dislocate parts of their body.  YOU CREATE PERMANENT CONSEQUENCES FOR ALL INVOLVED!  Once the “rope” snaps, all are truly able to see the trauma inflicted upon it. Oh… and believe you me… the “rope” will eventually snap due to all of the tension being place upon it!

So why do this? The relationship is over. We get that. But is the life of your child worth so little you would use them as the tool by which you attempt to control and destroy another persons life? Think long and hard before you answer. Because it is easy to say “No. My child is worth everything to me.” Many even use their love for their children as their reason for playing this dangerous game of Tug-Of-War. But today is the day you begin to declare by your actions… “NO MORE TUG-OF-WAR!”

“Why Did My Daddy Leave?” European Tour

In Fatherless, Lifestyle, Single Parenting, Uncategorized, Youth Programs on March 21, 2013 at 4:11 am

WDMDL Europe Flyer

“Why Did My Daddy Leave?” is a panel discussion designed to answer the questions on the hearts of many fatherless children… ‘Why did my father leave and why didn’t he come back?’

The difference in this discussion is, we are talking to the men… the fathers themselves!

The host and moderator of this tour is Ms. Torri J. Evans; the Founder & CEO of The Fatherless Generation Foundation Inc. with panelist Mr. Reco McDaniel, Mr. Yahanseh George, Mr. Daniel Blackman and an additional celebrity, politicians, and athletes panelist from each city.

“Why Did My Daddy Leave?” panel discussion tour is from March 29 – April 11, 2013 going to London, Lisbon, Paris, Brussels, Copenhagen, Oslo, Reykjavik

For more details go to http://www.tfgf.org Twitter: #WDMDLEurope

Having an Identity Crisis?

In Fatherless, Lifestyle, Single Parenting, Uncategorized on November 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Am I Having an Identity Crisis?

“The value of identity of course is that so often with it comes purpose” – Richard R. Grant

Your identity is so much more than your appearance. Your true identity is the depth of who you are as an individual. And what so many don’t seem to accept is the concept that our identity is  intended to be found in our fathers.  But what happens when our father is absent? When he has abandoned us and our mother’s to fend for ourselves in every way? Many have what has been coined as an identity crisis!!!

The term “Identity Crisis” was coined by Erik Erikson. His definition of the term is, “the failure to achieve ego identity during adolescence.” Erikson also states, “During our adolescence we are faced with physical growth, sexual maturation, and integrating our ideas of ourselves and about what others think of us. We therefore form our self-image and endure the task of resolving the crisis of our basic ego identity.”

They say when you grasp a strong sense of identity in your adolescence you are well equipped and prepared for adulthood, possessing a strong sence of confidence and certainty.   But what happens when this doesn’t happen? It opens the door for insecurity, lack of self-worth, unbelief, mistrust, abandonment and a list of many other negatives ideologies leading us on a uncertain path in life. Erikson even believes an identity crisis negates the mechanism for fidelity: known to encompass sincerity, genuineness and a sense of duty in our relationships with other people!

Through my work with The Fatherless Generation Foundation Inc.  I have learned the importance of identity and how it is connected to the fatherless and their inability to navigate through life as well as finding their purpose successfully.  Not to say the fatherless cannot find success, but their navigation at times is off balance due to an uncalibrated compass. The compass of life is a tool both parents play a significant role in building and then calibrating. And when your compass is only built and calibrated by one parent, your compass is one sided and leads you in circles. Erikson states, “They may go on to seek a negative identity, which may involve crime or drugs or the inability to make defining choices about the future.”  A life that leads you in circles is what we readily call “Repeating the Cycle!”

The real question is how do you overcome your identity crisis if you are having one? How do you break the cycle and get off the “Merry Go Round?” The clear answer is… FIND YOUR IDENTITY and when you find your identity it will lead you to your purpose!

Some steps to finding your identity….

  1. Find Your Authentic Self by Listening to Your Gut: This requires silence and you learning to trust yourself
  2. Never Lose Track of Your Goals & Dreams: No dream is foolish. Put goals in place so your dream can be accomplished
  3. Express Your True Feelings… Stop Surpressing How You Truly Feel: You can’t tell everyone everything so learn to journal
  4. Learn to Say NO without Feeling Guilty or Ashamed: Guilt and Shame are intended to keep you on the Merry Go Round
  5. Learn to Take Risks: Calculated Risks ONLY

When you crack your identity code…. the contours of your life will shift!

The Apprentice

In Career, Fatherless, Human Resources, Job Posting, Lifestyle, Single Parenting, Uncategorized, Youth Programs on September 27, 2012 at 6:36 am

Are you “The Apprentice” or will you hear the infamous words “You ARE Fired!”

“You’re Fired!”

Over the past 4 years I have worked very hard to build The Fatherless Generation Foundation Inc. off of my passion, but not so much of my skill set.  The Fatherless Generation Foundation Inc. (FGF) is a nonprofit based in Atlanta, Georgia at the forefront of the fatherless epidemic who’s vision is to “Turn the Hearts of Fathers Back to Their Children.” But one thing I am clear about, my Chemistry back ground didn’t provide me with the skill set to take this organization to the global market envisioned.

For the last year I have been looking for my replacement as Executive Director to no avail. Therefore, I am looking for “The Apprentice” who will take my place as Executive Director through a unique process! Just like the popular television show, “The Apprentices” will go through a series of tasks such as day to day execution, project development, team building, curriculum planning and more to determine who will receive the job as Executive Director!

Do you think you have what it takes to run a nonprofit organization set to expand into National markets in the next 12 months and a global market in the next 3 years? Do you believe you have the creativity to run an organization as unique as The Fatherless Generation Foundation Inc? Better yet… can YOU think outside of the box?

If you are saying yes to at least 2 of the questions, send your resume and cover letter to thefatherlessgeneration@gmail.com for further instructions.

Do you have what it takes to put me out of my job?

The Occupy Movement has Hit The Boys & Girls Club

In Fatherless, Lifestyle, Single Parenting, Uncategorized, Youth Programs on September 20, 2012 at 8:34 pm

The Occupy Movement has hit The Boys & Girls Club!!!

Night before as I prepare for bed, I couldn’t help but to have a HUGE smile on my face.  Monday was intended to be our first day back at The Boys & Girls Clubs with FGF Peer Groups.  But, when I walked in the door and grab my list… only 3 kids seemed to qualify for FGF Peer Groups. I was unsure of what to make of it. As I walked into the club, kids from ALL age groups ran up to me and hugged me. But after the joyous greeting they had a serious issue with me. They were all yelling at once… “Ms. Torri, why aren’t we able to be in your group. THAT ISN’T FAIR!” I let them know it was not my decision to only allow 3rd-5th graders this quarter. It was on the Education Director.

Before I knew it there were 15 girls in the Education Director’s office waiting on her. As soon as she walked in they started yelling out their complaint. Lets just say… the Education Director didn’t appreciate it and put them all out of her office with the quickness!  They all left with their heads low, but they were determined and that would not be the end of the issue.

While hanging out with them in the Learning Center they were still expressing their complaint loud and clear. One girl said… “I have been with you for 2 years. What is up with that Ms. Torri?” I told them I had not control over it. They would have to figure out how to overcome the obstacle or deal with it until next semester.

I walked away and went into another room. By the time I had come back, this group of 6th-7th grade girls had huddled and put a strategic plan in place. They sent one person in to represent their issues to the Executive Director over the entire club. They went straight to the TOP! By the time they had come out… the Executive Director had given me clearance to do what I wanted concerning the Peer Group.

Immediately I got with the Education Director and we made an extreme compromise. We would host 3rd-5th and 6th-8th graders at the same time in a different room. 2 groups at one time!

No doubt I compromised so the kids could have their Peer Groups. I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do!

A Life Without Daddy

In Fatherless, Lifestyle, Single Parenting, Uncategorized on September 8, 2012 at 1:32 am

Back in April of this year, I was blessed to have  a small portion of my fatherless journey published in Jet Magazine.  I can admit, initially this article caused some conflict within my own family. Some felt like I had “aired my dirty laundry!” Others felt I did not paint my mother in a favorable light. What I know to be true is, this article was not easy to have written and then be published. But this article brought my mother and I closer together as we both were able to deal with the truth of my fatherless experience…. this article brought healing to my family!

It is time for the fatherless to tell their stories of “Life Without Daddy!” Who is with me?

READ my story “Decades Without Daddy” on page 17 here http://trendmag2.trendoffset.com/publication/?i=104545