Bernice King, the CEO of the Atlanta-based Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Non-Violent Social Change, and her brothers are not seeing eye-to-eye when it comes to their father’s possessions.
Brothers Martin Luther King III and Dexter King are both in charge of their father’s estate, and when a private buyer offered to purchase King’s Nobel Peace Prize and his personal “traveling” Bible, they were happy to oblige. But Bernice has refused to hand the items over.
Her refusal has now sparked a lawsuit that the brothers filed on Friday in Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta.
The children signed over their rights to many of the great civil rights leader’s possessions in 1995, but Bernice says that selling these particular items would be “morally reprehensible.”
“I am absolutely opposed to the selling of these extremely sacred items,” Bernice wrote on her Facebook page.
She accused her brothers of being desperate for wanting to sell the prized possessions, and said she believes the
“As Mark 8:36 teaches, ‘For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?’ “ she said. “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.”
Neither of Bernice’s brothers have publicly commented on the situation, but the siblings have been in legal squabbles over similar disagreements in the past.
The King estate filed another lawsuit against the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change demanding that the organization stop using King’s image and likeness.
That lawsuit was filed in August 2013.
According to legal documents, the King estate claims the King memorabilia is not being properly cared for at the center.