Yesha Callahan

Court to Control MLK Bible and Nobel Peace Prize


A judge in Georgia this week ordered the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Bible and Nobel Peace Prize to be stored in a safe deposit box that only the court will access until litigation over the items between the slain civil rights leader’s children can be worked out.

Earlier this month, Bernice King said that her brothers were trying to sell two of the family’s most prized possessions. The King brother then filed a lawsuit against their sister since she wouldn’t turn over the items. Fulton County Superior Judge Robert McBurney ordered King’s daughter, Bernice, to turn over the items but did not set a timeline.

From The Associated Press:

“I find that, at this point, that is a fair, equitable balance of the competing interests,” McBurney said.

Lawyers for both sides said after the hearing that they felt the judge’s temporary solution was fair.

William Hill, a lawyer for the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Inc., said the bible and peace prize medal belong to the state under a 1995 agreement in which King’s heirs signed over their rights to many items they inherited from him. Eric Barnum, a lawyer for Bernice, said his client doesn’t believe those items are part of the estate and doesn’t believe her father’s most cherished possessions should be sold.

The three surviving King children are all board members of the estate, and they held a special board meeting in late January to vote on a proposed sale of the bible and peace prize, Hill said in court. They voted 2-1 in favor of the sale, with Bernice being the dissenting vote, Hill said.

“We have one director who disagrees with a properly taken vote of the corporation,” Hill said, repeatedly saying that Bernice has no individual right of ownership to the items.

“You don’t sell the most prized items of the estate. That’s Bernice King’s position,” Barnum said.

Another day, another King family drama. Rest in peace Martin and Coretta.

  1. February 21, 2014 - Reply

    As a member of the fraternity, I’m really disgusted in how his sons treat his legacy. When the monument was created in DC, we had to pay the family just to create that.

    I really hope Oprah or Tyler Perry or someone with a large enough pocket, buys the item and donates them at least to a museum. His sons are trash.

    • February 21, 2014 - Reply

      @Artful Ape

      No one should buy these items. It will only enable these two legacy leechers.

      Dexter & MLK III need to get a damn job!

  2. February 21, 2014 - Reply

    I agree with the court this time around. This is embarrassing situation but sibling fighting over things of their parents is nothing new. You can only hope something like this doesn’t happen if your parents pass.

    • February 21, 2014 - Reply


      Boy, am I extra glad that I’m an only child.

  3. February 24, 2014 - Reply

    This is a damn shame. It’s unfortunate that King’s children have signed over their rights of so much of Dr. King’s legacy and the parts of his history that they do have, they want to sell to the highest bidder. It’s really shameful. Dr. King’s children had the opportunity to do some really great things in their father’s name and all they have done is muddled their names and given the federal government control over his assets/legacy. It’s shameful.

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