Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Bernice King on new MLK lawsuit: 'Our Father MUST be turning in his grave'

Posted By on Tue, Feb 4, 2014 at 2:09 PM

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s children appear to be headed back to court for yet another legal battle - this time over their father's Nobel Peace Prize and family bible.

Last Friday, the civil rights icon's sons, Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King, filed for an emergency injunctive relief in Fulton County Superior Court on behalf of the King Estate. The brothers recently told Bernice King, CEO of the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent and Social Change, that they would like to sell both items.

The King Center CEO, who is currently in possession of both the award and bible, has been accused of hiding the possessions. The AJC reports that the King brothers' lawsuit is attempting to bring the historic objects back under the King Estate's control.

Nearly six months ago, the King brothers sued their sister on the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington over the King Center's use of the civil rights icon's image, likeness, and memorabilia.

Earlier today, Bernice King issued a lengthy statement about her opposition to the lawsuit. Here's an excerpt:

On January 20, as we observed my father's 85th birthday and The King Holiday, my brothers, Dexter Scott King and Martin Luther King, III, notified me that they want to sell to a private buyer our father's most prized possessions, his Nobel Peace Prize Medal and his personal Bible which was used by President Bara[c]k Obama as he was sworn in for his second term in office and subsequently signed by him. I am absolutely opposed to the selling of these extremely sacred items and I expressed my opposition to my brothers. Although these items have been under my care and custody for the past few years, they have remained in a safe and secure location since my father's assassination, and my mother's death in 2006. After I refused to immediately transfer these items to another location at their request, consequently on January 31 my brothers through The Estate of Martin L. King, Jr., Inc filed a lawsuit {Civil Action No. 2014cv241929} to force me to turn these items over for the express purpose of selling them.

In my opinion, there is no justification for selling either of these sacred items. They are priceless and should never be exchanged for money in the marketplace.

While I love my brothers dearly, this latest decision by them is extremely troubling. Not only am I appalled and utterly ashamed, I am frankly disappointed that they would even entertain the thought of selling these precious items. It reveals a desperation beyond comprehension. As Mark 8:36 teaches, "For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?"

Our Father MUST be turning in his grave.

As a minister of the Gospel, the thought of selling my daddy's Bible troubles my mind, vexes my spirit and weighs on my soul. The thought of profiting from the sale of the Peace Prize Medal, which my father accepted 50 years ago this year on behalf of the greatest demonstration of peace this nation has ever seen, is spiritually violent, unconscionable, historically negligent, and outright morally reprehensible.

This is especially true in light of the fact that my father gave away every dime of the Nobel award money to support the civil rights movement.

My brothers' decision to sue me is drastic and grieves me greatly.

While the King Center CEO added she has no desire to fight another public legal skirmish, she vowed to remain "steadfast" in advancing their father's legacy. "Some actions are sacrilegious and some things are not for sale no matter the circumstances, including my daddy's Bible and Nobel Peace Prize Medal," she said.

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