Continuing the Legacy of Human Rights with Martin Luther King III

January 18, 2021

As the oldest son of the late Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mrs. Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King III serves as an ambassador of his parent’s legacy of nonviolent social change.

A graduate of his father’s Alma mater, Morehouse College, Mr. King has devoted his life to working in the non-profit sector to promote civil rights and global human rights and to eradicate the “triple evils” of racism, militarism and poverty his father identified as the scourges of humankind. As a high school student, he served as a Page to Senator Edward Kennedy, and continued his public service, supporting social change movements through speaking engagements, appearances and his writing. He was later elected as a member of the Fulton County, GA Board of Commissioners, representing over 700,000 residents.

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Martin Luther King III: Hello.

John: Hello, Mr. King. How are you today?

Martin: I am pretty good. How about yourself?

John: I am great. Thank you so much. And thank you for taking time out of your very busy schedule. I know you are in the middle of two very important political races in Georgia. So this is really special. A very, very special moment.

Martin: We are happy to do it and then very good to see you.

John: Well, before we get going I just have to show you something. This video is so important to me personally. It is 51 years in the making. Here is the book that my mother brought me when I was eight years old, seven years old.

Martin: Wow!

John: When this was published. Step Up had many, many books like this about Abraham Lincoln, George Washington. This was the book I read the most. This was the only one of all the Step Up books that I kept because your father meant that much to me and I just wanted to show you the original book and that is why this interview means so much to me. Also, as I look back on my life before I started this company, ERI, I realized who influenced me the most and I thought it was your dad and over our front door at this facility since the day we opened sixteen years ago is your dad’s words. “Everyone can be great because everyone could serve.” And that is how we work here. That set the tone for our culture, for all our visitors, for our employees every day. So I just wanted to share that with you. That is how important your family has been to our family; being my family, and the company’s success and family as well. You set the tone and you set the culture and it means that much to us.

Martin: Wow! That is very powerful and means a lot to me personally.

John: Well, it is the truth, but we are going to talk about you today and the times that we live in and again, it is so humbling and it is an honor to have you here today on The Impact podcast and the impact that you made with your family. We are going to get into that a little bit. And that is what I want to start with, family. When did you realize that you were part of such an incredible family that had such a societal impact both here in the United States and around the world?

Martin: I would have to say that I am sure subconsciously as a very young child, I realized that. But consciously probably would have been at the time my father was killed and that was because every person who was running for public office from Robert Kennedy to President Nixon, they all showed up at our home to pay their respects, all of the candidates and many of the individuals in the entertainment community. Harry Belafonte was very, very close to my father and mother, and so he was in and out of a home over the years. But Sidney Poitier, Sammy Davis, Bill Cosby came, and Robert Culp at that time, at that time he was probably one of the few black Americans who was on a television show The I Spy Show. And of course, I believe the governor of New York, Governor Nelson Rockefeller at the time who later became vice president, of course. The list goes on and on Aretha Franklin, but Aretha Franklin was close to Dad because her father Reverend Dr. CL Franklin was close to my grandfather. So when that happened and to see countless numbers of just everyday people who came to pay their respects and lined the streets. I think that was when it really dawned on me. That Dad had really been doing some very, very important work.

John: Mr. King, you were ten years old at this time, ten years old. You were 10. At that moment, at that tender age did you realize you were part of a family and destined to follow in your father’s footsteps? Or was that an evolutionary process?

Martin: I think it was an evolutionary process. I am thankful that my mother always said, “look, you do not have to go to Morehouse College as your father did.” Which I did end up going to, “you do not have to be a minister as your father,” which of course I had not felt called to the ministry. “You do not have to be a civil and human rights leader”, but I ended up being in the area of civil and human rights. Mother just told me, “be your best self and we are going to support you.” I am so thankful for that. But I guess it was a little later on in my life. Maybe when I got a little bit past college is when I truly realized. Because the first thing I did was tried to work in the private sector in the hotel business and I did not really enjoy that. I knew I was a people person. It was a nice experience as a management trainee in a hotel but I decided that I would go to politics. So here in Georgia, we have County Commissioners, I think in California they are Supervisors. So I ran for that level of office. mid-level office, and was very successful in my first run. And in order to give something back to the community to nourish my growth and development. From then, I led several organizations including the fourth President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference that my father co-founded in 1957. I was the fourth president after Dr. Joseph Echols Lowery who had been there for twenty years. Then I became the president of the Martin Luther King Center and later on an organization called Realizing The Dream, and now I am the chairperson of the board of an organization called The Drum Major Institute.

John: Talk a little bit about that. What is The Drum Major Institute?

Martin: The Drum Major Institute started, actually my father and his lawyer Harry Wachtel started The Drum Major Institute back in 1961. It was actually Drum Major Foundation at that time, and the purpose of it was to raise money to bail people out of jail. And that was its only purpose and after dad was killed, probably after ’68 it sort of was dormant for a while, and then back in the 90s, Harry’s son, Bill Wachtel, myself, and Ambassador Andrew Young re-founded and named it The Drum Major Institute as opposed to Drum Major Foundation. And at that time it became a New York-centric think tank for about fifteen years. And now my wife, my daughter and I are the next iteration of Drum Major, and today we are focused on the eradication of poverty, racism, and violence in our society which my father defined as the triple evils and we believe the tenants of the values of peace, justice and equity are the answers. So we are building up to be a global organization to impact and create a peaceful world where we learn to live together without destroying personal property.

John: So you are carrying on the family tradition of working within the family with your wife, Andrea, and your daughter, Yolanda. They are part of this institute and working with you just like your family has worked together historically to affect huge societal impact and change.

Martin: That is absolutely correct. And I think that the dynamic that makes us slightly different is that it is my wife and I, and our daughter who is twelve years old and although she is still in school. She has chosen to be an activist thus far, of course. She may change her mind, but I doubt that very seriously because she already charted a course. She spoke when she was 8 years old at the March For Our Lives. She is now twelve this year on August 28th. We did the 57th anniversary of the March on Washington and she spoke there. She is now 12 years old. So she has taken an activist role concerned about climate change, concerned about the homeless, concerned about just the conditions that her colleagues and her other young people have to go through. And so she is in the process of launching an organization under the Drum Major Aegis called BAE which stands for Blacks Are Equal.

John: That is so great. So, you are already passing the torch to her and getting to enjoy the process as well.

Martin: No question, in that, no question. What is most interesting is when she does interviews and I look at myself when I was 10 years old, and of course, we did not have the internet. Obviously, we did not have a lot of things right and I was like, I do not know anything. Our daughter seems to know everything and I do not mean it in a way where she is. She is a very genuine little girl and comes off very genuine, but she knows so much. I am sure you may understand this as when we were children, we would listen to everything our parents said but we might come to our own conclusions, but they are also sponges and you do not think they are listening and they really are. And so I find it very interesting that at twelve years old when she is talking to a journalist she has an opinion that is far more than what I, at twelve, could not have answered. I would have just been sitting there looking at the journalist, him or her asking me a question and I can see myself…

John: You and I grew up in a different time. We are pretty much in the same age range and we did not have access to the information.

Martin: That is right.

John: That your daughter and my children have as well now. So they really do get to not only have just the United States perspective but also a world view that we did not have access to at that time.

Martin: That is right. That is so right.

John: But you know, we are at the end of 2020, and living through this tragic pandemic. It is also a year of huge social unrest, health challenges and anxieties, and political vicissitudes that have gone on throughout the entire year. At the same time, Mr. King we lost three icons, Elijah Cummings, John Lewis, Ruth Bader Ginsburg people, that left indelible footprints as activists, as leaders. Who do you feel is going to fill their shoes and their roles as we try to make a path forward now and heal the country and create more unity?

Martin: There are a number of young people emerging as leaders. Some are coming out of the women’s movement. Some are coming out of the Black Lives movement. Some are coming out of the Me Too, and out of the Parkland students. So you got young people in every category, some are young, outstanding business leaders. We do not always know their names at this particular moment and when you think about the world stage, you got young Greta who is dealing with climate change at seventeen years old and had a phenomenal impact. And you got Malawi who is at twenty-three won a Nobel Prize and doing amazing work. So it is young people who are leading us. And what is interesting, I saw in my judgment, I believe that after the killings took place at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, I saw young people emerging as leaders in a very short way, and in 2018 they were able to get other young people engaged and helped change Congress from Republican hands to Democratic hands by going to 75 States. And then, of course, the United States Congress has passed several bills around responsible gun legislation and yet it dies because the United Senate under the leadership of Mitch McConnell and not to personalize it, but that is just the truth, will not bring legislation to the floor. There is also a bill around the John Lewis Voter Registration Restoration Act which would address voter suppression in the country. And then there’s the George Floyd Criminal Justice Act that would address how policing activities are taking place. But all of those bills are refused by the leadership in the Senate which is why I’m saying that it is so important in our state that we are effective and successful in getting Reverend Warnock and Jon Ossoff elected so that president-elect Biden will be able to forge an agenda that is going to really be able to help Americans at all levels. And so we are working feverishly here. But your question, there are many young people is what I want to go back to.

John: Do you feel hopeful about the leaders stepping up now and filling those shoes and really helping effectually change as they did over the course of their lives?

Martin: You know, I feel more hopeful now than I felt in a long time. Certainly.

John: Great.

Martin: The last four years have been very challenging for me personally because I never embraced negativity, I always try to embrace positivity, but I have been very concerned because of the kind of leadership and I prayed for the president and hoped for a different level or style of communication, but I did not expect it. And so I was praying and hoping and praying and doing all that I can to get level leadership and fortunately, eighty-one million Americans also joined in so that we could make the change. Because I just think the time when you look at what is happening in the world, you look at all of our allies who were alienated intentionally or not intentionally, it happened. So, the president-elect is automatically a bridge-builder and I think now is the time for bridge-building. It is going to be a tough task because seventy-four million Americans voted for the President. And so that means we are a divided nation, but I believe that as these young people continue to become engaged, hopefully, we will have success in at least getting people to listen. You do not have to always agree on everything, but you certainly need to listen and be civil. And at this point, the way that we operate is not necessarily civil. We are not treating people with dignity and respect and as they are human beings. People feel like they have to force their agendas. And as I said, my father taught us, I think how we could disagree without being disagreeable. And some of that would be in order at this particular moment in our nation.

John: And your father was also the champion of non-violent change as you are and as you said you are working right now to get these senators elected in Georgia, but I know you have worked nationally for years throughout your lifetime. But also you worked internationally promoting non-violent change. Can you share a little bit of your experience working internationally in the non-violent change and all the great impacts you made around the world throughout your lifetime?

Martin: So we have done non-violent conflict resolution training in a number of areas, including some years back in Israel. And I was very blessed to be able to go into Israel and to be able to meet with prime minister Netanyahu as well as President Abbas on the Palestinian side. Usually, if you choose a side, the other side is not going to meet with you. But because of what the King Legacy represents, at least people were willing to engage. In fact, we were part of an effort at the Arab-American University to start a conflict resolution school in the Palestinian region a few years back. The first time that at least people can be academically exposed and get a degree to understand how non-violence works. And so I think that is very positive. We have also done conflict resolution in South Africa. We have done it in Kenya. We have done it in Serbia, a number of places just around the world. Now, obviously, these conflicts are not going anywhere, and I have not gone anywhere but the goal is to move the ball some, and that is what we always embark upon. How do we bring people together who have historically not been in communication or for whatever reason? And then how do we find areas where we can agree and then get people to move to make progress?

John: You know, the election will be over in Georgia on January 15th. What is your goal after that? What are you going to be working on in 2021 and beyond? What is your vision?

Martin: So 2021, essentially one of the programs that we are working on now that we expect to be able to get traction on is we are doing a program around the State of The Dream of dad’s. Dad’s dream of freedom, justice, and equality. So we will be bringing together thought leaders and leaders from a lot of different perspectives to talk about an assessment and we are working on a partner through mainstream media and we are very close to being able to share more of that, but that is one of the first events that we plan to do. We also are looking at another event around April 4th, which is the anniversary of dad’s tragic assassination. But instead of focusing on the negative of what happened, we want to focus on how do we actively engage again, bringing people together under the auspices of King Talks? Because that dialogue ultimately will create some level of action. And the other thing we want to do in ’21 and beyond is to continue to work on a full curriculum so that in our school systems from K to 12, there are young people being exposed to conflict resolution and non-violence. We used to have some of that in the schools, but then when budgets got cut, those kinds of programs went out of the window. The reality is we should have always retained them. We have a lot of mental health issues in our nation and that is a growing challenge and particularly because of the pandemic, a lot of young people even people who I am close to are involved in situations where children are talking about committing suicide. And so we got to really focus on mental health. And so we had to figure out how that works with non-violence, but somewhere down the line that may be an area that we are going to be focused on.

John: So you have a full plate in front of you in 2021 and beyond.

Martin: Beyond. Yes, absolutely. A very full plate.

John: Now at the beginning of this episode, I showed you this very important book that helped set the tone for my own life, and I still possess this book and it means the world to me. I know you have written a wonderful children’s book as well called, “My Daddy. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.” which I have asked your assistant for two cases to purchase and I would love you to sign them because I want to let our listeners know this book is coming and I want to support the mission that you have created and has made so much impact. Talk a little bit about the book please for our listeners and share with them what they can expect to get out of it and why you wrote it.

Martin: Yeah. So the book was written, number one and dedicated to our daughter Yolanda. It is actually a picture book as well, so illustrations. But I started off talking about a lot of people who have written books about my father but I, as his son, am one of his children so I am writing it from a different perspective, not as a normal scholar would write a book and I talked about life lessons. There are about half a dozen lessons that I learned from my father and mother that are shared in the book, and it is for kids probably age five may be up to 12 or so, I would love to see it in more homes or more children learning from it because I will share one experience. When I was a kid everyone in the neighborhood had toy guns, and so someone gave us toy guns, and back then you could incinerate your own trash in your backyard. We did not have a consciousness about the environment and so you take your trash out and put it in a metal can and burn it. And so my father and mother did not mandate that we do anything. So we did play with the guns temporarily but at the end of the day, we took those guns and put them in the incinerator and burned them because we understood at maybe eight and five, eight and seven, eight and maybe six years old, my brother and I, that it was wrong for us to have guns as dad was promoting non-violence as one of the pre-eminent non-violent warriors in our nation, that was probably not the best thing for us to do. So, we did that. That is one example of a story that I shared in the book but there are others, direct experience with racism at one of the schools that I went to. Not just encountered, but how I was able to overcome and address it. So there are a number of stories like that in the book that I think all young people can appreciate.

John: I am so excited to add that to my collection and also share it with our viewers and our listeners and again, for our listeners and viewers out there that want to buy that book, My Daddy. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, it is available in hardcover and paperback on amazon.com. You know, Mr. King. I was so excited when I watch you in 2008 speak at the DNC convention at the Democratic National Convention when you were asked to speak on behalf of Presidential nominee, then Barack Obama, Presidential nominee, and it was also the 45th anniversary of the I Have a Dream speech and words that I took away from that speech that I enjoyed so much were from your speech, “we all have to roll up our sleeves and do the work to ensure that the dream he shared, being your father, can be fulfilled.” We are now 12 years removed from 2008, are those words more true today than ever before? And how do you feel about the work that we all have to do to come together? Non-violently, to create a healed country, a less tribal country, a country that can, even like you said, have differences but not be disagreeable. Disagree but not be disagreeable with each other in a rude way or in a hurtful way.

Martin: So I feel that those words are even more true today based on the climate. And I also think that many of us did not adhere to the words, and I say that because President Obama even asks us he said, “look, I can do what I am going to do as the commander-in-chief but I need you to stay engaged,” and unfortunately, most people did not stay engaged and so those who stayed engaged had a different vision for America and they worked for eight years. And as a result, then the nation was able to elect a person who is a divider and a conqueror. And again, I do not want to make it personal because this really is not about hating a person, I do not hate Donald Trump, but I vehemently disagree with many of the policies and many of the positions that he sits in. He is the one who claims that people just hate him. No, people dislike what you represent. Not hate you, it is not about you. It really is about the American people. So my point is today we got to work even more diligently to bring this nation together to figure out how we are going to deal with some serious problems. One of those major problems that we as a society have not done enough focus upon, is the working poor. We got over a hundred and thirty million people in this country. We do not often realize it because it is pushed under the rug, but in a nation that has so much opportunity, unlimited abundance and yet we still have a hundred-plus million people living at the poverty level and we do not seem to be concerned about it. So, I am thankful for the leadership of the Reverend. Dr. William Barber, who is engaged in the new Poor People’s campaign, so that he can help expand the opportunity. I mean the fact that we have to think about is, you know, my dad was really revolutionary in a lot of ways because he was talking about a living wage in 1967. And in fact, part of what he was talking about, a radical redistribution of wealth is what got him killed. He was not killed because he was talking about people riding on the front of a bus or people being able to sit anywhere they wanted to sit. He was killed because he was saying, “look we got to really create the opportunity for all people or more balloons to rise,” and he was engaged in the Poor People’s campaign. the last campaign. He was going to bring together poor blacks, poor whites, and poor Native Americans, and Americans from all walks of life to say to the policymakers that we are going to stay here and we are demanding the right to decent jobs with decent pay. As you know, we are still trying to get the minimum wage raised in many areas. So we still got a lot of work to do, again going back to my primary point, that though the words that I articulated are even more true today with the divisions that exist. Because I believe that when people feel there is hope for them to achieve their vision, their dream, then violence is suppressed. All kinds of things can happen. We are a very amazing nation, but it is perplexing to me in my small city of Atlanta which I love, but it is perplexing that our system of education is challenged in the city of Atlanta. And we are a city with at least twelve to fifteen Fortune 500 corporations. It would be in their interest exclusively to say we are going to create the best school system that we can in this community because, at some point, we want young people to have a foundation because we want to hire them for our companies, but the fact that the schools are failing is very sad. Not just Atlanta, a hundred cities in that way that we have the capacity. It would be a different thing if we were a third-world developing country and just did not have it. We have the ability. But yet we have not identified the will. So when ability and will come together, it seems to me that it yields results. And so I do not know if I probably deviated a little.

John: No, you did not. But, I want to go back to your first point: the vision that your father had in 1968. To shift civil rights to really an economic rights discussion, as you said which got him in the crosshairs more than the Civil Rights discussion. What you are sharing I believe now is that it is more applicable now and he was so far ahead of his time fifty-one years, fifty-two years ahead of his time, but it is actually more important now that we still try to engage and try to get those. I think your father had five planks of his economic rights, a bill that he really wanted to get activated, and we have to go back to those five planks and try to put them in motion now more than ever before. Imagine if at thirty-eight years old your father was on to, I mean, I think of it all the time. Mr. King, we lost your dad at thirty-nine. I am fifty-eight now and If I live to three hundred I would never be able to accomplish what he did, but to come up with that kind of vision at thirty-eight years old and to start pushing that as the future and it is now fifty-two years out of time. We have not really got there yet, is it time to really get that done now in 2021 and beyond?

Martin: No question. First of all, when you talk about five planks when you think about it in the United States of America, everyone should be able to have the best education. Everyone.

John: Absolutely.

Martin: Everyone should be able to have health care. Everyone should be able to have a decent home. Now, let me define a decent home. Some people may have a 10,000 square foot home, some may have it larger, some may have it smaller. A decent home can be 200 square feet, right? We see that in New York all the time. But we have people living on the streets in the United States of America, millions. That is really unacceptable. Everyone should also have justice. I think I have enumerated four of the planks that I believe in the United States. Again, the best education, healthcare, a decent job, and justice.

John: Ordinary people play an important role in the government, to play a significant role in their government.

Martin: Well, no question about that. The government itself can do so much better. I mean, for example, I would think that one of the things that the president-elect is going to try to do in the first ninety days is to get legislation for the creation of an interest in… well, the first thing is going to deal with the pandemic. That is the first thing, I am sure, but I think he also is going to try to get a bill through that addresses infrastructure improvements because that would automatically almost create close to full employment. And you know, all of our infrastructures are eroding and in bad shape and it is amazing we have not had more accidents, whether it is our schools, whether it is our roads, whether it is our bridges. Just redoing that is a ten-year project, but it would employ a lot of people and so that would be one thing that could help the economy and I am only saying that again because I think the president-elect has a huge mantle, but it is really the community working together with him and the vice president-elect. It is not any one of us. It is not one organization. It is all of us working collectively for the good because we do have an amazing country and I never understood the slogan. Well, I understood it. I did not particularly like it and I’ll tell you what, I mean “Great Again” because I am not sure what period we are talking about when we say “Great Again”, making America great should always be. And I objected. My father said, “let us make America the nation that it ought to be.” When it is that nation, then again jobs, healthcare, justice, human rights all of those things in order, but we are not anywhere near in that vicinity yet. And it does not mean in a negative way, that we can never get there. I just believe that the American psyche, the American Experience creates the opportunity for options so that more boats can be lifted. And again, dad shows us that it only takes a few good women and men to bring about change and he and his team were certainly able to execute change but it is up to us to carry that mantle forward. To continue to create and build upon this amazing nation. I mean one of our challenges as you certainly know and then this is not to disparage but, how do we even get technology situated in a way that it is not the negative impact of technology? There is a negative impact of programming people in a way that may not be the best and this is what technology is doing. And so we have to at least evaluate, is that really what we wanted to do? Or do we really want technology to give us the tools to be able to really help? And that is a whole other conversation.

John: But you are right. Technology can serve as the great democratizer in the education process of everybody and give everyone an equal opportunity for equity in terms of education.

Martin: No question, and that is critical because, during this pandemic, I think the numbers are around three million kids have not returned back to school. They have disappeared and so the government again, I mean part of the issue is the leadership at the top. I do not know what the department of education is doing under this Administration, but for three million children to disappear and by now we should be able to make sure that there is internet access everywhere, that there are devices, but if you think about this if you have a four or five hundred dollar device and you do not know where you are going to live and you are trying to feed your family and you have to maybe sell that device so that you can eat that week maybe some of that has happened, but the sad thing is in this country with all of our ingenuity, It should not have to be that way.

John: So true. And I know we have time limitations because I have to get you back to the important and inspiring work that you do on a daily basis, I just want you to know you are always welcome back here to talk more about the important initiatives that you are working on a regular basis, especially the message of non-violent change. For our listeners and our viewers out there to find Martin Luther King the Third, and his colleagues and his family members that are doing this totally important work, this impactful work on behalf of us as Americans and around the world, please go M L King three, the number three, dot com, M L King three dot com to buy Martin Luther King the Third’s important book, “My Daddy. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” It is on Amazon in paperback and hardcover. You can buy it, it makes a great gift. I just have to say this to you, Mr. King, God bless you, your entire family for a lifetime of a dedicated public servantry, not only here in America, but around the world. The world is a better place because of the King family.

Martin: Wow, thank you. I often think about the world that we should all be thinking about creating for our children and grandchildren and there is an old saying, “The good politician plans for the next election. The statesperson plans for the next generation.” And we used to be more statesmanlike. And my hope is that it is brought back to the table by this new administration. Because we really must think about generations yet unborn. What kind of America do we want to leave? And I think there is a way to do it in balance. Today, again, not to disparage and criticize just corporate interest, but corporations have lobbyists who foster their agendas, and other organizations have lobbyists. The only lobbies that people have are the people who they elect, and it seems like the interest of other things get done, and not the interests of the people. It really is time for the people’s agenda items to be addressed. And dad showed us that a few good women and men could do that. We need to look at different policies, for example, around policing and how policemen have, in some cases tragically, African-American men and now women, are being killed by policemen on far too large bases. We used to apprehend suspects without killing them, but something happened some years ago, and the transition was, well, it is easier just to shoot to kill as opposed to apprehending a suspect. I do not know what happened to our humanity, but somewhere we got to look in the depths of our hearts and identify humanity. Because we are human beings first. Not all of our conduct is always appropriately human, but we are human beings and we have to appeal to the best, to bring the best out of everyone. My dad and mom often would look at people and you know, let us say hypothetically and this is hypothetical. Really hypothetically. If you are seventy percent bad, dad would not focus on that or mom, they would focus on the thirty percent good, and find ways to extract that from you. And that is what we have to figure out. How do we extract the good? Because there is goodness in human beings and I want to give this example, many years ago I was going somewhere in South Georgia and I had a flat tire. And a guy drove up in my stereotypical mind in this huge truck with a big Confederate flag on it. So in my mind, ‘oh my gosh, this is going to be bad.’ I was not concerned because the person who was driving me happened to be an undercover policeman so he had a weapon. I was not concerned about that. But the fact that this guy pulls up in this truck, and he saw that we were dressed in soups, and he said “look, let me help you.” He would not let us change the tire. Now, I do not know what the flag meant to him, I know what it meant to me. And that is what made me frightened because the Confederate flag was the flag that was used to justify slavery. And yet this young man would not let us change the tire nor would he let us pay him for it because we got to pay him, “Here are twenty dollars, man. We really appreciate it.” “Oh no, no, no.” So my point is you can not just make a judgment and universally say people are certain ways because he had an emblem that you know was problematic to me. And I think that kind of thing exists all over our nation. We got to meet people where they are and then I think that with a dialog when you explain what something means, ‘okay, it means this to you, it means this to me’, how do we find a middle ground so that we can promote what you want. But also not present something negative to me and I just think we can do that. As human beings, we are God’s highest creation. We have the capacity. It always goes back to we have the ability we just have to identify the will.

John: You are so right and I love what you said earlier. You gave a great subtle message. You do not hate the person. You can dislike their policies and disagree with their policies, but hating the person does not get us anywhere as Christians, as people of faith. And like I said earlier, just God bless you Mr. King, and your entire family, your wife, your daughter, your brothers, sisters, and continue the great work. We need so much more of you, but we are just grateful to have you and what your family has already made, the changes in this world, and the impact in this world. The world is a better place because of your entire family. So thank you again and stay healthy and God bless you.

Martin: I got a couple of things if you do not mind.

John: No.

Martin: That I want to say because I always want to leave people with a couple of thoughts. One of them is a quote from my dad’s and the other one is a quotation on a statue at Antioch College of the educator Horace Mann. Okay, so my father used to say that the ultimate measure of a human being is not where one stands in times of comfort and convenience, but where you stand in times of challenge and controversy. He went on to say that on some questions, cowardice asks the question “is a position safe?”, expediency asks the question “is a position politic?”, vanity asks “is a position popular?”, but that something deep inside that we call conscience asks “is a position right?” He went on to say that sometimes we must take positions that are neither safe nor popular nor political, but we must take those positions because our consciences tell us they are right. And so I would say that if we allowed our conscience to be our guide, more times than not we are going to make the right decision. And the final thing is my mother, when I was probably twelve years old, took me to undergraduate college, which is Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio. On that college is a statue of the educator Horace Mann and the words inscribed on that statue that made an indelible impact on my life and the words are, “Be ashamed to die until you won a victory for humanity.”

John: Wow.

Martin: So when I first read that I was like, ‘oh my gosh, that is profound.’ How to make an impact? How do you be ashamed to die until you won a victory for humanity? How do you run a victory for humanity? So I started breaking it down and I said, you know, you can win a victory on your street, or you can win a victory in your neighborhood, or some will win victories in our school, some may win victories in our places of worship, some people may win victories in our cities and some may win victories in our state. And yet others may win victories in our nation, and then some also may win victories for our world. But all those words mean, be ashamed to die until you have done a little something to make the world in which we all must live a little better than it was when you arrived.

John: That is a beautiful way to end today’s episode. And one day I would love to have you back again to further the discussion and all the important work that you are doing. You have inspired me today. I know you are going to inspire all our listeners who listen to this and watch this and again, continue to health, safety and God bless you and your entire family.

Martin: And the same to you and your family and all the good work that you are doing, that you are bringing to the public through this podcast, and all the other business things that you are doing. Thank you for what you are doing is well. Bless you.

John: Thank you, Mr. King.