Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

What Triggers You?

In Uncategorized on December 20, 2019 at 2:47 pm


“Although childhood experiences are significant in shaping an individual’s worldviews, injurious elements from childhood do not have to dictate the present. Injurious attachment styles learned in early childhood experiences can be changed, relational mistakes can be corrected, negative patterns of relating can be exchanged for nurturing ones, and parental bonds can be healed.   A person can learn to create healthier relationships, provide a platform for old wounds to heal, and progress in their spiritual journey. This level of healing is the will of God for each victim experiencing the pain of father absence.” – Fathers Presence Matters

What is a trigger?

Have you ever heard a song and it reminds of a person, a moment in your life, a relationship?  Anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, rejected, defensive, anxious, abandoned, frustrated, angry, and unsatisfied.

  • Songs
  • Smells
  • Conversation
  • Cities

All of which seems like you got this way for no reason at all. Because emotional triggers are conscious and unconscious.  But mostly unconscious.

You aren’t aware of what made you feel that way and so often you blame the person you’re talking to or the situation you’re in when the real reason for your reaction is that the situation triggered a learned reaction in your brain.

Common triggers to give you an idea of what to look for:

  • Having to make a change
  • Challenging yourself or learning something new
  • Being criticized
  • Failing at something
  • When something goes wrong
  • When you make a mistake
  • When you make a mistake in front of others
  • Being put on the spot
  • When you procrastinate
  • When you’re on a deadline, pressured, or rushed
  • When your reputation is at risk

Triggers were originally created by your brain as a way to help you be efficient with your responses to the world around you and, ultimately, to keep us safe.

The continuous exposure to something does what is called wiring in your brain.  Wiring is the path by which patterns are established and learned behavior is reinforced.

Once the situation—the place, person, or thing—is programmed into the brain with a certain emotion attached to it, this same thing becomes a trigger, meaning the next time you find yourself with that place, person, or thing, it automatically triggers that same emotion.

Unfortunately, sometimes our brain creates an association between the emotion and a person, place or thing that is NOT truly the cause. When this mis-association happens, the faulty wiring can do more harm than good. For example, if your parents told you “we need to talk” every time just before you got in trouble, then in the future if a friend or spouse says “we need to talk” you’ll immediately become defensive. You aren’t aware of the real reason you feel that way, and so you blame your friend.

The key to recognizing your negative triggers is to become a student of your own emotions. By becoming aware of your emotions you become aware of triggers, you start to take their power away because you can choose to react differently, instead of reacting automatically.

Ask yourself what tends to trigger your emotions. Then, for each one, consider in what way you react to those triggers and whether the reaction is appropriate or reasonable. Lastly, for each trigger, ask yourself:

  • How could I react differently? How could I think differently? Feel differently? Act differently?
  • What people trigger me? What do they do or say? What do I think as a response? How do I feel or act? Is it reasonable? What could be different?
  • What topics of conversation trigger me? Why? How do I feel or act? What could be different?
  • What places do I go that tend to trigger me? What do I think, feel or act? What could be different?

Take a look at a recent Facebook Live on What Triggers You?


Dr. Torri J.

Founder & CEO

The Fatherless Generation Foundation Inc.

How Fatherlessness is Impacting Your Ability to Co-Parent

In Uncategorized on December 10, 2019 at 11:12 pm

In some ways, you are reliving your childhood with your ex.

  1. Your abandonment issues
    • You recognize the cycle and will fight tooth and nail to recreate or ensure the same thing does not happen to you.
    • A Key symptom to Abandonment issues is the actual fear of abandonment. You are always on the watch for abandonment, so much so it causes you to This symptom may need frequent reassurance that the person is not leaving, you even go to great lengths to try to avoid abandonment and to feel devastated when someone ends a relationship with you.  In many ways, it’s a double-whammy. People with Borderline Personality Disorder both fear abandonment and have symptoms that create CONFLICT with others.
  2. Conflict is where you find comfort. Conflict often leads to abandonment, which then reinforces the fear.
  3. Your Picker is Broken.  Subconsciously, adults with Abandonment Disorder tend to choose spouses or partners who resemble one of their parents so that they can recreate their childhood and get it right this time. But without an understanding of the reasons for their behaviors, they are seldom successful.  
  4. It is hard to set aside your emotions. How do you set aside hurt and your anger for the sake of the children when you have never learned these behaviors? You are still dealing with unresolved emotions of your own.
  5. How can I Co-Parent when “I” is all I see? There is no “I” in Team and neither is “I” in Co-Parenting.  It is a tremendous challenge to recreate what you never saw what a team looks like.

Take a listen to what Dr. Torri J. shared on Healing Tuesday about the impact your fatherlessness is having on your ability to co-parent.

Healing the Father Wound

In Uncategorized on December 6, 2019 at 6:06 pm

father wound.png

We all come into the world helpless, dependent, needing acceptance, to be treated as worthy, and to be loved. Our father’s absence leaves us vulnerable and susceptible to psychological, emotional and mental health issues. This is called a Father Wound!

There is a real challenge to identify our Father Wounds when we refuse to simply consider the idea we needed him because of our loyalty to the love, perseverance, and strength of our single mothers. But nonetheless, the wound still exists and weaves its way into our hearts and subconscious minds influencing dysfunctional behaviors and patterns causing us to repeat cycles within our own relationships.

Father Wounds can be caused by:
💔 Neglect
💔 Absence
💔 Abuse
💔 Control
💔 Withholding

The impact of a Father Wound is a deep emotional pain living and breathing within our subconscious creating a life of limitations, distortions, sabotage, low-self esteem, dysfunction, and much more 😢. The saddest part is of it all is most times we are aware of the pain but yet unaware of its roots and the impact it is having on our day to day lives.

Barriers to Healing Your Father Wound:
✔️Pride: Will NOT confront the issue declaring “I’M FINE!”
✔️Sin: Will NOT seek to confess the sin that got you here nor receive forgiveness.
✔️The Wound Itself: Continuous internal trauma
✔️Lies: Misconceptions about yourself, birth father which leads to misconceptions about God the father.

How do you heal?
❤️Confront: your trauma, acknowledging you are not fine and you need help.
❤️Confess: the sins & mistakes, and allow forgiveness in. This includes Generational Trauma.
❤️ Stop: rehearsing the story and allowing it to be a re-run within your mind. Let go of the story. Learn how to empower others from your story.
❤️ Speak Truth: about who you are, learn the truth of your father’s background so you can allow compassion to come in and forgiveness to take hold, and open yourself up to the love of God.

This won’t be easy. So don’t do it alone. Find an amazing therapist who can assist you in your journey to healing!

How Parental Alienation Impacts Fatherlessness

In Uncategorized on April 16, 2019 at 11:07 pm

The Fatherless Generation Foundation Inc. (TFGF) has an 87% reunification success rate and a 92% retention rate.  What this says is not every reunification goes a planned or has the happy ending we work so hard to achieve. In this conversation, I want to share one of the reunifications that did not turn out so well due to parental alienation.

Meet Edward Sessom. He tells his story very well.  However, I want to fill in some of the gaps.

(Watch Mr. Sessoms Full Testimony at

Mr. Sessom and his ex-wife were married for 10 years prior to divorce.  He was reunited with his children live on the air of one of our segments on the Rickey Smiley Morning Show.  After their reunification, Mr. Sessom and his children were able to share some amazing times together after years of alienation.  But as children get older some things can take precedence over time with dad, like time with friends and extra-curricular activities.  At a certain point, sports seasons started impacting his parenting time with all 3 of his children who are all gifted in multiple sports.  Now, this is not an assault on extra-curricular activities or children in sports.  However, it is a window into how subtle parental alienation can be.

With all of his children in multiple sports, Mr. Sessom made it a point to be at every game possible. Which was not easy.  You see, he had been laid off from his job in Atlanta as a Certified HVAC Technician but found work 5 hrs away in North Carolina.  This meant his weekdays were lived in North Carolina while his weekends were in Atlanta where he could see and spend time with his children.  However, limited days in Atlanta meant limited time with the children.  I remember speaking with Mr. Sessom often about what he could do to maximize his time with his children.  As an organization, we decided to get the children’s perspective on the situation.  So I took them Rock Climbing.

As we, more like they, scaled the walls and released down backwards without hesitation, we all had a great time laughing at my fear of letting go.  Then, we sat down and talked about what they wanted from the relationship with their father.  There was no doubt these children wanted time to build a real and meaningful relationship with their father.  However, they knew things, or so they thought, about their father children of their age just should not know.  And they had no idea the interference their mother was running.  The worst part was, mom told the children dad didn’t pay child support and that is why they had to go without certain things.  This information given to underaged children creates animosity, anger, and resentment towards their father.  And, this was a blatant lie.  I myself had been to the child support office with him. He took the job in North Carolina to ensure he could continue to support them and not fall any further behind in his financial obligation to his children.  His child support had 4 digits in front of the decimal point so he was paying a substantial amount.

#1 Parental Alienation Syndrome can be created by:

  • One parent is blaming the other for financial issues or the child not being able to do a certain activity. You would hear something like, “Well, you can’t be taking swimming lessons any longer. Since your father left us, we have no money to spare.”

This is not an attack on child support either.  But, your children should not be told this kind of information especially if it is not true.  This creates little girls who look for men to be providers only putting themselves in harm’s way to repeat the cycle. Or little girls who find themselves dealing with the Superwoman Syndrome where they are so independent they believe they do not need a man for anything in life!  For little boys, it creates extreme anger towards their fathers and causes them to feel like they have to grow up too fast and too soon in retrospect becoming their mother’s mock boyfriend.  I did my best trying to work with mom, but she would be sober one day and go back to the dysfunctional approach she had been taught in her fatherless household days later.

So let’s get back to the extra-curricular activities i.e. sports and how it can be used in a subtle way to create alienation.  Even, intact families struggle with managing the many obligations tugging at children’s schedules from home, school, sports and houses of faith.  So imagine the challenges co-parents have with this.  We must be aware of any intentional interruption to the non-custodial parent’s scheduled time in order to alienate them from their time with their children and curtail it while adding makeup time in the best interest of the children.  I truly believe there is a fine line as to how the custodial parent maneuvers when adding purposeful extra-curricular activities and intentional interference with parenting time making children fatherless.

Mr. Sessom experienced these types of challenges even while in attendance at his children’s games.  He would not be welcomed on the field when it was parents night. Somehow, his name was left off of the list.  The list his ex-wife was the committee chair.

#2 Parental Alienation Syndrome can be created by:

  • Subtlely using extra-curricular activities as a way to alienate and isolate a parent from their court-ordered parenting time.  

How do you eliminate Parental Alienation Syndrome:

  • Do not share negative details about the other parent with the children. If you find yourself starting to, stop, apologize and let the children know you were being inappropriate.
  • Include non-custodial parent in the process of deciding what extra-curricular activities the children will participate and keep them in the loop concerning all extra-curricular schedules.
  • Do not be rigid when it comes to extra-curricular activities that interfere with parenting time and allow the non-custodial parent the freedom to be the parent responsible for the children’s schedule during their scheduled parenting time. DO NOT CONTROL THE SITUATION!
  • Take the time to heal your wounds from the divorce and /or break-up.  It will benefit everyone involved in the long run.

Currently, Mr. Sessom is rebuilding his relationship with his oldest daughter who is 21 years old but has not spent any time with his 19-year-old son in a few years due to his son’s anger towards him.  His youngest daughter is still working through her feelings as she is underage.  We are still gently guiding him through this process.  It is just a matter of time before they are a reunified family again!  Even in all that has happened, we love the fact Mr. Sessom is a champion for TFGF and always will be.
Edward Sessom Hug.JPG
The Fatherless Generation Foundation Inc. (TFGF) is a 501c4 headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia and our mission is to reunite fatherless children with their biological fathers all while providing the resources and services that strengthen, support, and elevate the growth of family values and relationships. TFGF has successfully reunited 3106 fatherless children with their fathers!  

Redefining Father-Less

In Fatherless, Single Parenting, Uncategorized on January 17, 2019 at 6:47 pm


I feel it is vitally important to redefine or simplify the meaning of Fatherless.  I know that may sound arrogant and over-reaching, but it is for a special purpose.  Throughout my day-to-day, I have learned there are too many fatherless people who do not identify as fatherless although they are.  It is one thing to have a definition in your mind and another as to how you use it in a sentence pertaining to your own life.

Webster’s dictionary defines Fatherless as having no father because he is dead or absent from the home.  The National Fatherhood Initiative has gone a bit further.

National Fatherhood Initiative Definitions of Fatherless:

  1. You are fatherless if you have never met your father.
  2. You are fatherless if your father does not live in the home with you and you have limited to no time with him.
  3. You are fatherless if your father has died.
  4. You are fatherless if your father lives in the home with you but is not emotionally engaged.

I know what you are thinking.  It should be easy to identify with one of the definitions.  True, but there are a few things at work.  Many people only have these definitions in their minds.  For most of you, this is the first time you are seeing the definitions written down.   For some reason, the leap from our heads to our hearts is not as easy of terrain to cross as we believe it should be. Using our lives in a sentence about fatherlessness is not ideal for most.  This is the moment where feelings begin to bubble up to the surface causing us to acknowledge or suppress long lost pain. And in truth, a couple of the definitions seem unfair if our dad was present in some capacity.

Fatherless children & Fatherless adults are saying, “I am not fatherless because I know who my father is.” Regardless of the fact as to whether they have a relationship with their father or not.  They do not even take into account how much time they desire to spend versus how time they actually spend with their fathers.  Fathers say, “My children are not fatherless. I am here fighting for them.  But, their mother won’t let me see them!” This is just one of the many conversations.

So for the sake of the conversation and even for the sake of healing someone today, let’s redefine or better yet simply the definition of fatherless. By simply breaking the word into the 2 words that make it up; Father and Less. Father-Less becomes an easier landscape.  Father-Less is simply having less time or not as much time as we desired or needed with our fathers for our psychological, emotional, and spiritual development.

Now when we look at this definition, how many of you could say, I might be Father-Less?  an example, maybe your father was a workaholic and his focus was providing for the family. No blame to dad.  However, not having the time wanted and needed tends to leave a scar on our hearts causing that scar to become the navigation of our lives in negative ways we very seldom recognize until it’s too late. Once again, no blame to our fathers who worked hard to give us great lives.  We just need to acknowledge we wanted and needed more time and now we have some hurt surrounding not having that time we must now heal.

This is your season for the healing you did not even know you needed.  The season for you to allow yourself to feel something you have not felt in a long time in order to obtain the healing for your life allowing you to go to the next level.

Take the time to journal or call a friend to talk through what you read and how you are feeling about it.

Dr. Torri J. Evans-Barton

A Lesson We Can Learn From “Surviving R Kelly”

In Fatherless, Lifestyle, Uncategorized on January 17, 2019 at 6:29 pm


With the latest documentary release about R Kelly, we believe it is imperative to discuss a topic many may find uncomfortable but we must have.  Sexual Abuse is a true consequence of growing up in a fatherless home.  And a lesson we can learn is, boys are just as susceptible as girls to it.

In order to have a fair conversation lets clarify a few facts.  Far too often we associate Sexual Abuse with girls versus boys.  However, according to 1 out of 3 females and 1 out of 5 males have been victims of sexual abuse.  American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress (AAETS) says, 30% of all male children are molested in some way, compared to 40% of females. Numbers do not lie and these numbers insinuate boys and girls are BOTH at risk of sexual assault especially when they are from fatherless homes.

Effects of Childhood Sexual Abuse: 

  • Withdrawal and mistrust of adults
  • Suicidality
  • Difficulty relating to others except in sexual or seductive ways
  • Unusual interest in or avoidance of all things sexual or physical
  • Sleep problems, nightmares, fears of going to bed
  • Frequent accidents or self-injurious behaviors
  • Refusal to go to school, or to the doctor, or home
  • Secretiveness or unusual aggressiveness
  • Sexual components to drawings and games
  • Neurotic reactions (obsessions, compulsiveness, phobias)
  • Habit disorders (biting, rocking)
  • Unusual sexual knowledge or behavior
  • Prostitution
  • Forcing sexual acts on other children
  • Extreme fear of being touched
  • Unwillingness to submit to a physical examination

Contrary to girls, boys may not even recognize their sexual victimization. They may assert that they weren’t abused, weren’t hurt, or were in charge of what happened.  For them, acknowledging victimization means admitting they’re weak or “not male.”

A Step to Help & Healing
To ensure the children around you are able to share any abuse that may have taken place, it is necessary to create an atmosphere of openness.  If you are a parent, always have age-appropriate discussions on sexual abuse, leaving an open door policy.  Also, make sure you do not ignore conversations about “someone touched me” while paying attention to any of the signs mentioned above.

If you suspect Sexual Abuse or have been abused, please report to the Police.  After reporting the abuse to the Police, find a Licensed Therapist to initiate the healing from the Sexual Abuse in order to reduce the potential of the abused from becoming the abuser.

80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. – Justice & Behavior, Vol 14.

Happy to help.

For a Licensed Therapist go to or if you have any questions feel free to email TFGF Admin at

Confessions of a Fatherless Daughter

In Career, Fatherless, Lifestyle, Single Parenting, Uncategorized on December 4, 2018 at 4:04 pm



Daddyless Daughter


I never knew my father well. Time spent with him was always rare and brief. At the most, I could expect a card with a few dollars in it on holidays and birthdays. Over time, I got used to growing up without him. I stopped expecting him at birthday parties, graduations, and school events. I stopped waiting by the phone for promised calls that never came. I learned to tuck the sadness of missing him into my back pocket and push forward. My being surrounded by the presence of my mother, siblings, and family members as a child made it easy to tune out the heavy emotions that I felt towards my father. So, I got past it in childhood but I was not prepared for how it would affect me as a young adult.

The weight of my fatherlessness hit me the hardest when I got to college. Something about crossing over the threshold into adulthood, being away from home, and being all on my own brought all of those daddy issues to light. It wasn’t until then that I realized his absence had seeped into every aspect of my life.

It showed up when I met new friends but couldn’t bring myself to be vulnerable with them. It showed up in my academic life when I second guessed myself and what I brought to the table. It was present when I found myself judging every man I met as unreliable before getting to know them. My lack of financial and emotional support is tangible evidence of my fatherlessness. As an almost 20-year-old, I feel as though my fatherlessness has sent me into the world with no foundation.  I have had to learn to heal that little girl inside of me who just wanted her daddy around. If I didn’t, I would have begun to sabotage myself and my relationships as an adult.

My experience has made me realize that parents can sometimes underestimate the impact of their actions on their children. They can also overestimate their children’s ability to simply “get over it.” That is why healing as a child is so important. The trauma that is the result of fatherlessness will impact a child regardless of if they recognize it or not. It is trauma that will carry over well into adulthood if not healed correctly.


Taj’Zhere Dillard


The Fatherless Generation Foundation, Inc.

Daddy Issues

In Career, Fatherless, Lifestyle, Uncategorized on November 9, 2018 at 8:58 pm

“Piece by piece, he restored my faith

that a man can be kind and a father could, stay”

―Kelly Clarkson


New one


Many fatherless children are walking around and going about their daily lives suppressing the fact that they have daddy issues.  The thought is I have grown beyond the 12-year-old boy or girl waiting for my father to come to my school recital, birthday party, or even just a regularly scheduled visit. I have “gotten over it!”  But in truth, that does not mean your daddy issues are through with you.

Why do you need to slow down and deal with your daddy issues? 

This is necessary because of the impact that your daddy issues are having on your relationships with your spouse, family, friends, and even your children. What many do not know because of the high level of suppression, is that their daddy issues are even impacting their performance at work.

How do you stop suppressing and work through the pain of your daddy issues? 

#1 Sit Still

We use being busy as a way to not deal with the cracks in our foundation. You must get quiet. Allow the inner you to speak to you about what it needs.

#2 Listen 

It is time you listen to you. Once you get quiet and begin to listen, the inner you will begin to expose the areas of trauma affecting your life. Take the time to write them in a journal.

#3 Experience the trauma from a place of seeking resolution.

When you begin to listen, you will initially be afraid. And I will say, depending on how deep the trauma is, I need for you to seek a qualified therapist to assist you with your healing.  What I know is, when you go back and experience the trauma from a place of seeking resolution, you discover different outcomes.  Your conclusions are based on truth and not on the myopic perspective of a child whose heart has been broken. Those new conclusions are now shaped from a stronger, more confident, and free-er you!

#4 Write a Letter to Your Father 

Writing a letter to your father is one of the most freeing actions you can take for your own healing.  Now, whether or not you send it to him is up to you.  I suggest you take the time to listen concerning that decision as well. For some, you may want to go beyond writing the letter and reach out to your father or an extended family member if he is not open or has passed on to share your heart. You may find the surprise of your life!


Compassionately yours,

Dr. Torri J. Evans-Barton

Founder & CEO

The Fatherless Generation Foundation, Inc.


Are You Your Father?

In Fatherless, Lifestyle, Uncategorized on November 1, 2018 at 4:20 pm

“Identity is revealed through exposure and developed and cultivated through relationship. ”

―Dr. Torri J.

Man in the Mirror 3

I have heard it time and time again and I get it. You are nothing like the man who abandoned you. But in truth, you may be more like your absent father than you think or want to be. Just from a DNA perspective alone, you can learn a lot about yourself.

DNA is a very powerful piece of your puzzle. Not to get too scientific on you but, you inherit one chromosome for each of your parents for each pair of chromosomes you have. More and more studies are showing the distribution of the chromosomes inherited is not as equal as one might believe.

Fathers seem to dominate when Mom has a recessive, mutated, or weaker gene. This means some of the amazing traits you have like your gorgeous eyes, intellect, athletic ability, personality, etc. may very well come from your father. But the same effect does not happen when Fathers have a mutated or weaker gene. Mom’s gene is still dominated by the Father’s causing you to inherit a mutated or weaker gene making you more susceptible to chemical imbalances within your brain, predisposed to addiction and other behavioral disorders, as well as disease. And let’s not forget the fact that our father’s chromosome determines our sex; whether or not we are male or female.

Man in the Mirror 2


So what can your absent father answer about your DNA? At the very least, he can answer questions you have about your medical history. However, I would never ask you to reunite with your absent father just for medical history.

He has more he can contribute. Your absent father can also answer the questions my father answered for me. Why are you the way you are? How do your natural abilities reveal your divine calling and purpose? Why do you move the way you do in life? Why do you think the way you do? Now, let me be very clear. This includes the good and the bad. Your identity is just as much about how you look on the outside as it is about who you are on the inside. Have you ever done something and asked yourself, “Where do I get this from?” You ask the question because, from your single-mom lens, no one on her side of the family has this trait. If this is true, I am almost certain your dad can answer the question.

Identity is revealed through exposure to your biological father and developed & cultivated through a relationship with him.

Time to reunite,

Dr. Torri J. Evans-Barton

Founder & CEO

The Fatherless Generation Foundation, Inc.

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