Judge Declines to Decide MLK Family Dispute

     (CN) – A Georgia judge on Wednesday declined to rule on a dispute over the Rev. Dr . Martin Luther King Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize and traveling Bible that has pitted two of King’s sons against his daughter.
     Judge Robert McBurney’s decision not to intervene in the case means that unless the warring family members came come to some kind of agreement on their own, the dispute will proceed to trial.
     King’s estate, which is controlled by his sons, in January 2014 asked the Fulton County Superior Court to make their sister surrender the items.
     In a board of directors meeting that month, Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King voted 2-1 against Bernice King to sell the two artifacts to a private buyer.
     Bernice King, who possessed both the Bible and the 1964 Nobel Prize at the time of the vote, opposed the sale or any other. In February 2014, she took to the pulpit of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where both her father and grandfather had served as pastor, and denounced her brothers plan to sell the items, which she said were among their father’s most cherished possessions.
     She continues to maintain the Bible and Nobel don’t belong to the estate.
     Lawyers for the estate say King’s children signed an agreement in 1995 giving up their personal ownership rights to items that once belonged to their father, and that the sale is crucial to the continuing viability of the estate.
     Both items are have been held in a safe deposit box since March 2014, with the keys being held by the court.
     The case was supposed to go to trial in February 2015, by Judge McBurney stay all action in order for the siblings to try to reach a settlement.
     In May 2015, the parties told McBurney they’d made some progress toward a deal, and the judge ordered them to use a mediator to get them the rest of the way.
     Ultimately, former President Jimmy Carter agreed to serve in that role, and in October 2015, a joint statement released by the Kings said they had met with Carter and were confident that the dispute could be resolved.
     It now appears the siblings, who have squabbled in court for years over the estates of their father and mother, Coretta Scott King, were unable to bridge the differences that divide them.

%d bloggers like this: