The King Family Feud
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached nonviolence and finding the civil way to solve problems between people. Now, his children are at odds over what should happen to two of his most prized possessions -- his traveling Bible and his Nobel Peace Prize -- and they've taken the fight to court.
King's sons – Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King – run his estate, and want to sell the relics to a private buyer. It is thought the Bible could fetch between $200,000 and $1 million, while the medal could go for more than $10 million.
However, King's daughter, Bernice, controls their mother's estate and contests that King gave the medal to his wife as a gift and therefore belongs to her. She opposes the sale.
Bernice King has said publicly that selling the items would be "spiritually violent" and "outright morally reprehensible," and some of Dr King's contemporaries agree. Rev. Joseph Lowery, who marched alongside King in the 60s, said:
"I don't even want to admit there's a discussion about putting those items on the market," he said.
"They are sacred items, not only are they sacred to the family but they're sacred to the community. They represent Martin's life work and commitment to justice and serving God."
Rev. Timothy McDonald, who served at Ebenezer Baptist Church in the 80s, agreed.
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.
The items currently reside in a safe-deposit box controlled by the court, and after a January 13 hearing, the case will go before a judge. King's sons have indicated that they would not necessarily sell the items but that they merely want to clarify the question of ownership of the Bible and medal.
One Atlanta judge has stated that the Martin Luther King Jr. estate, led by his sons, would likely win the case if it were to go to trial.
Featured image from Shutterstock / Olivier Le Queinec