COMMENTARY: Family in Crisis: Bernice King Calls Brothers’ Plan to Sell MLK’s Items ‘Reprehensible’

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It’s clear that King’s kids cannot resolve their own differences so someone grounded is sanity and spirituality needs to step up and stop the madness. Perhaps someone close to the King family who they all respect, someone who will be thoughtful, caring, but firm. And someone who understands conflict resolution.

“My brothers’ decision to sue me is drastic and grieves me greatly. I have absolutely no desire to be in court or to fight yet another public battle,” Bernice King said in her statement. “Nevertheless, some actions are sacrilegious and some things are not for sale.”

Bernice King is chief executive officer of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, a nonprofit group in Atlanta formed by King’s widow after his 1968 assassination. She said the items have been under her care in recent years and have remained in “a safe and secure location” since her father’s assassination and the death of her mother, Coretta Scott King, in 2006.

Bernice should be allowed to keep her father’s Nobel Prize medal and his Bible. The items could be placed on public display at the Center for Nonviolent Social Change where the nation can appreciate them – not sold randomly like a used product on Ebay.

The latest dispute between the King family comes months after Martin III and Dexter decided to sue Andrew Young, the former U.S. Ambassador and close personal friend to King. At issue is a lawsuit initiated by King’s sons. The legal argument focuses on who has the rights to King’s words and image. King’s sons are apparently angry at Young over footage of King that appears in a production by Young’s foundation. Another of King’s friends — actor Harry Belafonte – is also embroiled in a legal dispute with King’s children over ownership of some King documents.

Meanwhile, Bernice King says she will not relinquish her father’s medal or his Bible.

“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,” Bernice King said in her statement.  “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.”

“Though I am unsettled at the prospect of losing these treasures,” she said, “I am steadfast in my strength to protect them.”

For the sake of the King family, I hope help is on the way.

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17 thoughts on “COMMENTARY: Family in Crisis: Bernice King Calls Brothers’ Plan to Sell MLK’s Items ‘Reprehensible’

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  3. Well One thing that needs to be set up. Is an honest way for his kids to advance financially through a healthy business plan. Maybe they need a Supportive Fund Raising Program for the MLK Foundation. Develop productive product line.

    Then they will not have to sell the two MLK Items.

  4. It’s a real shame that people choose to sell out the vision of Dr. Martin L. King Jr. rather than stand up and be men.

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  6. If the brothers are that hard up for money, they need to get a JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Rev. King is probably looking down from heaven and wondering what in the world did him and Coretta create.

    • My sentiments exactly. My first job was cleaning the lunch room at my high school on Sundays after the Saturday night Bingo game. $5.00 a week and we’re talking 1969-1970. $2.00 went back to the school buying a lunch ticket for a week. The King brothers must be having some serious cash flow problems. Are they shopping addicts? Lottery ticket buyers? What gives? Maybe they need a crash course on economics or money management.

  7. shame shame shame on the king brothers. you are so greedy that you are willing to sell your dads legacy for money. i would hope and pray that you do not embarrase everthing that your dad fought so hard for. for all of us. look in the mirror do you see your dad. he is looking at you ,disheartened and ashame…

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  9. I am so saddened by this recent event with the MLK Jr children. If this is true I believe Bernice should continue to fight and keep her father’s most precious possessions. That Bible represents what my family Bible represents, our family history and all the joy, pain, good times and bad times that has happened in the family. I can not understand why the brothers would want to sell the medal and the Bible to a complete stranger. Perhaps its greed which is one of the deadly sins. My prayers go out to the King children that all this can be resolved without being played out in court or the media

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