Say one thing about these feuding King kids: they have timing.
The opening scene of Selma the critically acclaimed civil rights film, is of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. accepting the Nobel Prize in 1964. Unfortunately, none of King’s actual speeches could be used in the film, as the battling King siblings couldn’t come together to approve their use.
Now, the lawsuit-crazed Kings are fighting over whether to sell the precious Nobel Prize like a used iPhone on eBay.
With Selma receiving national attention and King’s holiday celebration set for next week, a real-life drama played out in an Atlanta courtroom Tuesday where the three living children of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. are locked in an ugly dispute over control of two precious items that belonged to their father: His Bible and his Nobel Peace Prize.
Bernice King bitterly opposes her brother’s desire to sell the historic items. Dexter King and Martin Luther King III are trying to take possession of the artifacts – currently sitting in a bank vault — and Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney has postponed his decision until a trial, set for February.
“There is no justification for selling either of these sacred items,” Bernice wrote in a statement. “They are priceless and should never be exchanged for money in the marketplace. While I love my brothers dearly, this latest decision by them … reveals a desperation beyond comprehension.”
Desperate people do desperate things. Are these law suits and counter suits really all about money?
This is a pathetic, trainwreck of a saga. And it’s sad. The King children should be ashamed of themselves. This is at least the fifth lawsuit between the siblings in the past 10 years, but this time they have plunged to a new low.
All family members have squabbles but the King mess is far beyond basic arguments; it has descended into total disrespect for each other, disregard for the memory of their father; and utter contempt for the civil rights movement.
The Bible, which King kept with him during the civil rights movement, was most recently used by President Barack Obama for the swearing in of his second term. The Nobel Peace Prize King received in 1964 was for his “nonviolent campaign against racism.”
Here’s an ironic twist: When Dr. King was notified of his Nobel Prize, he announced that he would turn over the prize money – $54,123 – to support the civil rights movement. Fifty years after King unselfishly donated his Nobel Prize money to his campaign for social justice, his children are fighting each other in court over the same Noble Prize medal – for money.
King’s estate, which is controlled by his sons, last year asked a judge to order King’s daughter to surrender the items. In a board of directors meeting last year, Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King voted 2-1 against Bernice King to sell the two artifacts.
The Rev. Timothy McDonald, who served as assistant pastor at Ebenezer from 1978 to 1984, told The Associated Press: “You don’t sell Bibles and you don’t get but one Nobel Peace Prize. There are some items that you just don’t put a price on.”
Lawyers for Bernice argue that King gave the Nobel medal to his wife as a gift, saying that it’s part of Coretta Scott King’s estate. Bernice is the manager of her mother’s estate.
King’s children should serve as positive role models for African Americans and all citizens of color but instead they are a family in real-life crisis. No court of law can fix this kind of dysfunction.
Maybe they need Iyanla Vanzant to step in.
What do you think?