Every night [I] had the fear of going to bed. Because at dinnertime, members of the white supremacist Group, the Ku Klux Klan, would call. every single evening at dinner. Not some nights, but every single night once we moved to Atlanta, and threaten to kill us. My mother would slam the telephone down…we’d eat the remainder of our dinner in silence, and quickly go to our rooms, finish whatever homework we needed to do, we’d take our bath as quickly as we could and pray. We’d roll up into a little ball and pray that they didn’t bomb the house that night and make it through the morning.

– Activist and actress, Donzaleigh Abernathy, daughter of civil rights activist Reverend Ralph Abernathy, and goddaughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

I don’t want to say top much about my incredible conversation with Donzaleigh, except that it’s worth your time and attention and I’m so grateful that she shared so much of her own time with all of us.


Black History Month makes this the perfect opportunity to listen to Donzaleigh’s own first-hand stories about growing up in the segregated south on the front lines of the civil rights movement, her anecdotes about her Uncle Martin and Aunt Coretta, and her thoughts on politics today including the BLM movement, the recent impeachment hearings, and the Capitol insurrection on January 6.

She also describes what she finds most discouraging — and encouraging — about race in America today. And she reminds us that there are always silver linings, even when things feel awful, and that includes our opportunity as parents to raise the next generation of caring, thoughtful, justice-oriented kids.

Listen to our conversation right here or through Apple Podcasts or your favorite podcast app, and be sure to subscribe to Spawned so you never miss an episode. We have some more really amazing guests coming up over the next few weeks.


Donzaleigh Abernathy, goddaughter of Martin Luther King Jr., on civil rights then and now | Spawned podcast 226 #BlackHistoryMonth

Donzaleigh Abernathy on Spawned with Kristen + Liz

You can follow Donzaleigh on Instagram to learn what else she’s up to. And be sure to catch the video of The Listening, the incredible new choral performance inspired by Dr. King’s 1967 speech, Beyond Vietnam: A Time To Break Silence. It was composed by Cheryl B Engelhart, featuring  Donzaleigh Abernathy and Wes Felton, along with the Listening Choir. It’s just wonderful.