By April Taylor
News recently broke of Martin Luther King’s sons, Dexter King and Martin Luther King III, wanting to sell King’s Nobel Peace Prize as well as his traveling Bible which was used by President Barack Obama at his swearing in ceremony. The two have legal control of King’s estate and filed a complaint in Atlanta with Fulton County Superior Court in an attempt to force their sister, Bernice King, to turn the items over to them.
The complaint alleges that Bernice, as well as other heirs to King’s estate, agreed back in 1995 to forfeit their inheritance to any items contained within the estate. However, they claim that Bernice chose to retain possession of the Bible and the Nobel Peace Prize. There is no mention in the complaint that the items will be sold once they are turned over, only that they be turned over to the rightful administrators of the estate. This is not the first time the King siblings have found themselves embroiled in a legal battle over King’s estate or legacy, but it is the first time Bernice has stood alone against her brothers.
A press conference was held at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church where Martin Luther King Jr. once served as pastor. A local Atlanta news station, 11 live, is reporting that during the press conference, Bernice stated that she believes that the selling of the items is a matter of principle and that she wishes to be disassociated from her brothers because of the difference of opinion. Bernice also stated that the rift between the three is not a case of sibling rivalry but rather a difference regarding their spiritual relationships with God. Bernice is also quoted as saying,
“We have no right to sell our birthright. If I were to allow the selling of my father’s belongings my conscious would haunt me for the rest of my life. Our father must be turning over in his grave.”
It will be interesting to see how this plays out in court, but anyone with a conscience must realize that there are many more ways to profit from protecting the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. than what would be gained monetarily by selling such sacred items.