The children of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. have gone to court over control of their father’s Nobel Peace Prize. One of King’s children declined to say if the medal and traveling Bible would be sold if a judge rules they belong to the icon’s estate, however.
The Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Inc., controlled by his sons, asked a judge last year to order King’s daughter to surrender the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize and Bible. King’s three children are the sole directors and shareholders of the estate. Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King voted 2-1 against Bernice King to sell the two items to an unnamed buyer last year, according to ABC News.
Bernice called the idea of selling two of her father’s most beloved items unthinkable. When asked if the items would be sold if the estate wins its case, Dexter responded that he was not sure, adding “we will decide the future of those items at a future time.”
[quote text_size=”small” author=”– Dexter Scott King” author_title=”Director of the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Inc.”]
This is a business issue, and it’s certainly my hope that we can resolve it ultimately in some type of form that precludes having to go to trial. But if we can’t, that’s why courts are here.
Attorneys for the estate cite a 1995 agreement among King’s heirs to sign over rights to many items inherited by their father to the estate. Bernice King has said that the agreement was valid but has refused to turn over the Bible and medal, according to the complaint, according to the Washington Post.
The hearing on Tuesday entered on a resolution to 2008 litigation finding the 1995 agreement valid. A final order a year later instructed the estate to put together a list of items that it says are its property. Unless Bernice disputed ownership of the items on the list, the estate was to pick up the items.
Attorneys for Bernice have said the estate never provided her with such a list. Attorneys for the estate said a list was presented, but they could not prove it.
Appraisers have said the Nobel Prize is worth anywhere from $5 million to $20 million.
Martin Luther King, Jr. left no will behind when he was assassinated in 1968. The three remaining siblings have been locked in legal battles since the death of King’s widow, Coretta Scott King, in 2006, according to the Los Angeles Times.