MLK's Children in Legal Battle Over Civil Rights Leader's Bible, Nobel Prize Medal

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  • Bernice King
    (Photo: NHCLC)
    Bernice King speaks during the NHCLC Justice Summit 2013 in Washington, DC.
  • Bernice King
    (Photo: Reuters/Tami Chappell)
    Bernice King, daughter of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., and CEO of the King Center speaks during the Martin Luther King, Jr. 46th Annual Commemorative Service in Atlanta, Georgia, Jan. 20, 2014.
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By Jeff Schapiro, Christian Post Reporter
February 7, 2014|3:32 pm

The sons of Martin Luther King Jr., acting as representatives of his estate, are suing their sister so that she will hand over the civil rights leader's Bible and Nobel Peace Prize medal, which she says her brothers want to sell.

Bernice King, CEO of The King Center, said during a press conference Thursday that her brothers, Martin Luther King III and Dexter King, want to sell the Bible and medal despite her belief that her father would not have wanted them to do so, according to video posted to the USA Today website.

"I take this strong position for my father, because daddy is not here to say himself, 'My Bible and my medals are never to be sold,'" she said.

The press conference, which was held at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr. once served as pastor, was held in response to a lawsuit filed last week by the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. against Bernice King in Fulton County Superior Court.

The suit claims that in 1995 the King siblings assigned their rights to the things they inherited from their father exclusively to his estate, USA Today reports.

It also says Bernice King is keeping the Bible, which was used by President Barack Obama during his second inauguration, and the medal hidden. She claims, however, that her brothers know where the items are located and that they "are hidden in plain sight."

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The complaint does not say that the brothers plan to sell the items, though Bernice King told CNN that her siblings voted in favor of doing so during a meeting.

"I can't speak to what went wrong and why my brothers have voted to sell those two items," she said. "I just know that I am absolutely opposed to them and I know without a shadow of a doubt that my father would be opposed."

When asked to whom the items would be sold or why they would be sold, she said she could not respond under the advice of her legal counsel.

Another lawsuit, filed by the King estate against The King Center in August, suggests the center has not properly cared for items licensed to it by the estate and says the court should stop the center from using the civil rights leader's memorabilia and likeness, according to USA Today.

During Thursday's press conference, Bernice King tried to distance herself from her brothers in the eyes of the public.

"We are different people, with different minds, different ideologies," she said, according to USA Today. "So please, please, please do not put us in the same category."

 

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