After Ruling, Fate of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Bible May Be Clearer

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King with the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.
The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King with the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.

The legacy of the Rev. Dr.Martin Luther King Jr. seems to be everywhere these days with the success of the film “Selma,” which begins with his being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

It has been a hot topic among historians, who have debated whether the film adequately depicts the interplay between the civil rights leader and President Lyndon B. Johnson.

And it took on renewed prominence in Atlanta on Monday when Gov. Nathan Deal of Georgia, in his Inaugural Address, reminded residents that a statue of Dr. King would soon be erected on the State Capitol grounds.

At the same time, a decidedly less heroic aspect of his legacy has been playing out here in court filings and hearings as his three surviving children work through a pair of lawsuits over the disputed ownership of their father’s Bible and Nobel Prize medal, and the licensing of his intellectual property.

The disputes are the latest in a series of dispiriting legal tussles involving Dr. King’s children, who have squabbled in the past among themselves — and with others — over the ownership of their father’s personal effects and the stewardship of his legacy. Along the way, they have found themselves at odds with some of Dr. King’s most famous friends and confidants, including Harry Belafonte, the actor and singer, and Andrew Young, the former United States ambassador to the United Nations and mayor of Atlanta.

For all the good will the King name brings, many here are exasperated.

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Source: The New York Times | RICHARD FAUSSET

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