Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

King’s kids fight over his Nobel prize

  • Print
Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

ASSOCIATED PRESS FILES Enlarge Image

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Fifty years ago, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work as the leader of the civil rights movement. Instead of using the prize money for the material advancement of his family or himself, the late civil rights leader donated it to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other movements dedicated to overturning segregation in America.

A generation later, King’s three surviving children are locked in an acrimonious public fight over the fate of the prize their father brought home from Oslo in 1964 and his traveling Bible used by President Barack Obama during his second inauguration.

King’s sons Dexter and Martin Luther King III and their sister, the Rev. Bernice King, comprise the board of the Martin Luther King Estate. Last year, the siblings took a vote on whether to sell their father’s Nobel Peace Prize and his Bible to the highest bidder. The market for curios and historically significant documents from the civil rights era is robust and lucrative.

Ms. King was horrified by the idea of profiting from objects she considers both family heirlooms and sacred artifacts of the civil rights struggle. Nonetheless in a 2-to-1 vote, her brothers voted to sell the items.

Ms. King, who has physical possession of the objects, has refused to turn them over to her brothers. They sued her for violating the will of the estate’s voting majority. A judge in Georgia’s Fulton County Superior Court heard their arguments and ordered Ms. King to turn the items over to the King Estate for safe keeping in a safe-deposit box that only the court would have the key for until the issue of possession is resolved at a future trial date.

Ms. King has agreed to turn the items over, but that hasn’t stopped her from attempting to persuade her brothers to change their minds. Many in the civil rights community stand with her and are aghast at the greed and insensitivity of her brothers who are also prominent civil rights leaders in their own right.

MLK could’ve profited from his fame, but he chose instead to be a humble foot soldier in the battle for racial equality. If anything, his Nobel Prize and his traveling Bible belong to all Americans. A more fitting place for it would be at a civil rights museum or at the Smithsonian where everyone could enjoy it.

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Mike O'Shea on win over Alouettes August 22

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A water lily in full bloom is reflected in the pond at the Leo Mol Sculpture Garden Tuesday afternoon. Standup photo. Sept 11,  2012 (Ruth Bonneville/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • A young gosling flaps his wings after taking a bath in the duck pond at St Vital Park Tuesday morning- - Day 21– June 12, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Have you decided which mayoral candidate will get your vote?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google