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Children of Martin Luther King Jr. Continue Legal Battles
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Summary: The children of the late Martin Luther King Jr. continue their in-fighting over their father’s physical property. 

The children of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. are fighting once again over his tomb, memorabilia and sermons, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.


The lawsuit at the heart of the fight puts the future of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change into question. The King Center was created by Coretta Scott King in 1968 in her basement.

Lawyers for Dexter Scott King, chief executive of the for-profit estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Inc., will seek to end the use of King’s physical and intellectual property by the center on Tuesday.

To read more about Martin Luther King Jr., click here.

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The head of the nonprofit center is Dexter’s sister, Bernice Albertine King.

Martin Luther King Jr. will need to be removed from the center’s title if the judge rules in the favor of the estate.

The center would also lose its rights to display the sermons, speeches and crypt of King’s remains.

Andrew Young, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, helped Coretta set up the center. He has been serving on the center’s board for decades and thinks the federal government should be in charge of it, not the family.

“It’s a national monument, not a children’s play thing,” he said.

Another family lawsuit centers around which member of the family owns King’s Nobel Peace Prize medal and his Bible. This lawsuit is between the estate and Bernice.

To read more legal news stories, click here.

Dexter wants to sell both items to a private buyer and said that Bernice illegally “secreted and sequestered” the possessions. Bernice denies ownership of the items and says selling them would betray the legacy of King.

“This is not the kind of conversation we want to have,” said the Rev. Timothy McDonald III, senior pastor of the First Iconium Baptist Church. “I have a dream too: that the family can figure out a way to resolve this out of court.”

“King accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of all the foot soldiers of the civil rights movement,” McDonald said. “The Nobel belongs to the movement, not just to a few individuals.”

Lawyers representing the estate claim that Bernice is violating an agreement from 1995 between the heirs of King that assigned all rights and interests in property inherited from King to the estate.

Bernice’s lawyers have disagreed with the validity of the 1995 agreement, saying that the estate did not comply with a court ruling in 2009 to submit a list that established title to the personal property of King.

To read more about the Nobel Peace prize, click here.

Dexter explained the lawsuit, saying, “This is an issue of ownership and retrieving property. An individual has sequestered property that belongs to the corporation.”

Bernice is in charge of their late mother’s estate and claims that her father gifted the medal to their mother.

Dexter is trying to remove Young from the board at the Center by alleging that Young breached his fiduciary duty when he used footage of King in a documentary without asking.

“It’s my legacy too,” Young scoffed. “That boy, he’s one spoiled brat. Maybe I should have spanked his butt when he was little.”

The lawsuit filed by Dexter claims that the Center is not performing its duty to maintain and manage the physical property of King.

Should both sides drop their legal battles? Use our poll to share your thoughts.

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Source: Los Angeles Times


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