Martin Luther King’s children back in court over his Bible, Nobel Peace Prize

Posted at 12:12 PM, Feb 05, 2014

By Dana Ford

ATLANTA (CNN) — The children of Martin Luther King Jr. are back at loggerheads — this time over his Bible and Nobel Peace Prize.

The estate of the civil rights icon filed a complaint in Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta on Friday to force Bernice King, his daughter, to turn over the items.

King’s heirs agreed in 1995 to give up their inheritance to the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Inc., the complaint reads.

Bernice King has “repeatedly acknowledged and conceded the validity” of the agreement, but has “secreted and sequestered” the items in question, it says.

Specifically, the estate — which is controlled by Dexter King and Martin Luther King III — wants his 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and his traveling Bible, which was used by President Barack Obama when he was sworn in for his second term.

Bernice King says her brothers just want the items to sell them.

“Our Father MUST be turning in his grave,” she said in a Tuesday statement.

“While I love my brothers dearly, this latest decision by them is extremely troubling. Not only am I appalled and utterly ashamed, I am frankly disappointed that they would even entertain the thought of selling these precious items. It reveals a desperation beyond comprehension.”

The complaint does not mention the possibility of a sale, and attempts to contact the King brothers, through the estate, Tuesday were unsuccessful.

This is not the first time the family has been at odds over King’s legacy. Over the years, the siblings have sued and counter-sued one another.

Bernice King and Martin Luther King III sued Dexter King in 2008, accusing him of converting “substantial funds from the estate’s financial account at Bank of America” for his own use. They later agreed to a settlement and avoided a public trial.

“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 Tuesday.

“Nevertheless, some actions are sacrilegious and some things are not for sale.”

CNN’s Tristan Smith and Devon Sayers contributed to this report.

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