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Don’t sell MLK Bible, Nobel Peace Prize


 Atlanta, GA — The Rev. Bernice King, the daughter of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is calling on her brothers to reconsider their plan to sell or lease their fathers’s Bible and Nobel Peace Prize.



King’s estate is run by his two sons, Martin Luther King III and Dexter King. The estate’s lawyers on Jan. 31 asked a judge to order their sister, the Rev. Bernice King, to surrender the items.



Bernice called on her brothers to search their conscience at a news conference Thursday at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.



A judge last week set a Wednesday deadline for the items to be placed in the safe deposit box and for the keys to be handed over to the court. But Bernice’s lawyer says the deadline has been pushed forward another five days.



“I must say it is deep-in-my-soul difficult to place my father’s prized, precious heirlooms under the custody of the state, even if only for a season,” she told supporters who gathered at Atlanta’s historic Ebenezer Baptist Church.



“Yet I recognize that justice and righteousness are not always aligned,” she continued, “and there’s often a disconnect between God’s law and man’s law. As dad said, ‘We must accept finite disappointment but never lose infinite hope.’ “



King said she “was led by the Holy Spirit to comply” with the new Monday deadline.



King further told the assembled crowd, made up of supporters and civil rights activists, that the public tug-of-war was a “defining moment for our family” and “an embarrassing chapter in our family’s history.”



She pleaded with her brothers, who were not in attendance, and any prospective buyers to “step up to reason and do what your consciousness says is right.”



According to an affidavit filed in the lawsuit, King wrote an e-mail to her brother Dexter in 2007, saying she was OK with selling some of her father’s possessions. She now says the Bible and Nobel Prize are too sacred to part with.



Emphasizing her deep love for her brothers, Bernice King said she’d ask them to reconsider their stance on the heirlooms and noted that only one brother would need to agree to keep the items in the family.



However, Bernice King told CNN she did not foresee her and her brothers reaching any middle ground. She has not spoken to them in some time, she said.



CNN’s attempts to reach the attorney for the Martin Luther King Estate were not immediately successful.



The three King siblings make up the surviving board of the estate. They took a vote before the lawsuit over whether to sell the items, which Bernice King lost 1-2. The King brothers say that the future of the estate would be threatened if a sale could not be made.


No prospective buyers or dollar amount have been publicly disclosed. Bernice King says she wants to keep the items for reasons other than money.


“If it was about money, hey, I should have just been quiet and took my cut from the sale of these items, but I try to live my life on principle.”



The case is scheduled to be heard September 29.

Courtesy of