Martin Luther King Jr.’s Estate Wants His Daughter to Give Up Nobel Peace Prize
ATLANTA — The estate of Martin Luther King Jr. is asking a judge to force the civil rights icon’s daughter to relinquish her father’s Nobel Peace Prize and “traveling” Bible.
The complaint against Bernice King was filed Friday, January 31 in an Atlanta court by her father’s estate, which is controlled by her brothers, Martin Luther King III and Dexter King.
The lawsuit says Martin Luther King Jr.’s heirs in 1995 assigned their rights to property inherited from the civil rights icon to the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Inc. The lawsuit says Bernice King has “secreted and sequestered” the medal and Bible in violation of that agreement.
The Rev. Bernice King says in a statement that her brothers want to sell the medal and Bible to a private buyer and that she opposes that.
Bernice King, the youngest of the four King children, posted the statement about her father’s “most prized possessions” on her Facebook page, saying, “I am absolutely opposed to the selling of these extremely sacred items.”
She and her brothers have been in and out of court for years over various disputes about their father’s estate. Bernice King is CEO of the King Center in Atlanta, but her brothers have charge of their father’s estate.
Bernice King said she learned Jan. 20, the national holiday marking her father’s birthday, that her brothers wanted the items, which were being kept in a secure location.
A spokesperson for Martin Luther King III could not be reached immediately for comment.
Though she was not interested in entering another court battle, Bernice King said, her brothers’ request has left her no choice. The Kings’ other daughter, Yolanda, died in 2007.