165: The True Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. // Mike & Emily Green

Posted in

Today is Dr. Martin Luther King day in the United States, and I am honored to have the opportunity to dive a bit deeper into his work, particularly as we face such a difficult and contentious time in our country.

When you think about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. What comes to mind? You probably think of his famous “I Have a Dream Speech,” his emphasis on non-violence, or one of his famous quotes about love, such as “Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.”

These often highlighted aspects of his work are absolutely an accurate depiction of who he was and what he stood for…but they are an incomplete depiction who he was and what he fought for.

As White Americans, we often sugarcoat and whitewash the legacy of Dr. King, while remaining ignorant of the true focuses on his work and how it remains largely unfinished today. I am as guilty of this as anyone else, which is why I sought out two experts to be our guests on the podcast today, Mike and Emily Green of Common Ground Conversations on Race in America.

Mike and Emily are going to talk to us about the three major systemic focuses of Dr. King’s work and what we as mothers can do to continue his work ourselves, as well as raise children who will be aware of injustice and willing to fight for true equity in our country.

I want to acknowledge upfront that this episode is going to be dense. There may be terms that you don’t recognize, history that you are unfamiliar with, and possibly even facts shared that make you feel uncomfortable or defensive. My challenge for you is just listen. Listen and learn. Take notes of things you don’t understand or you want to look up later and learn more about.

The best way that we can honor Dr. King today and every day is to learn his history and the history of our country, even the stuff that makes us uncomfortable–and to have the courage to look at current conditions and acknowledge inequalities, particularly for communities of color. It is my greatest hope that this episode will be a springboard for you to learn more and think more deeply, to have discussions with your families, within your communities and schools and local governments, and seek for equitable solutions for all of our children.


Three Focuses on Dr. Martin Luther King’s Work and the Negro Revolution: 

  1. End racial segregation in schools
  2. End racial discrimination in housing/home ownership
  3. End racial discrimination in banking and access to capital

These three areas are very connected to each other, and unfortunately, research shows that a huge disparity between white America and Black America continues to exist in all three of these areas.(Listen to the full interview for more history and data.)


Quotes from the Episode:

  • ”We inherited a society that we did not have a hand in creating, but we do have a role to play in the society that we pass on to future generations.” Mike Green
  • “We can’t teach what we don’t know.” Emily Green
  • “Even though this learning can feel overwhelming, the truth is that as we learn, a next right step really does open up for us.” Emily Green


Show Notes


Connect with Emily on Instagram: @emilygreen27

Why We Can’t Wait by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

^Consider purchasing from a black-owned bookstore instead of Amazon! (Linked)

List of black-owned bookstores by state 


Related Episodes