King heirs at odds over sale of Bible, Nobel

Associated Press Published:

ATLANTA -- The daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. on Thursday urged her brothers to search their consciences and reconsider their plan to sell the civil rights icon'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 filed court papers Jan. 31 asking a judge to order their sister, the Rev. Bernice King, to surrender the items. A lawyer for the estate said at a court hearing last month that the estate has been in conversations with entities that want to buy or lease them.

The estate's lawyers have said the Bible and peace prize medal belong to the estate under a 1995 agreement in which King's heirs signed over rights to many items they inherited from him. They voted 2-1 in favor of the sale, with Bernice King being the dissenting vote.

Hill said.

Bernice on Thursday called on her brothers to hold another vote and said she hopes that at least one of them would change his vote.

"With God's help, I can only believe that the judge's ruling is not a setback but an opportunity for my brothers to step up to reason and do what their conscience tells them is right," she said.

Though she hasn't spoken to her brothers since the lawsuit was filed, Bernice said she hopes they can reconcile their differences on the matter and said she would be open to an out-of-court settlement.

Bernice appealed to anyone who might consider buying the Bible and Nobel Peace Prize to take the moral high road and "leave the sacred in its sacred state."

Bernice was joined at the news conference by supporters, including Elizabeth Omilami, the daughter of civil rights leader Hosea Williams, and the Rev. Willie Bolden, who said he participated with King in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

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