Tags: jimmy carter | mlk | heirs | bible | peace | prize

Jimmy Carter Referees MLK Heirs' Bible, Peace Prize Fight

Jimmy Carter Referees MLK Heirs' Bible, Peace Prize Fight
Former President Jimmy Carter, 91, and battling brain cancer, is mediating the fight between Martin Luther King Jr.'s children.  (AP)

By    |   Wednesday, 07 October 2015 06:49 AM

The ugly dispute between Martin Luther King Jr.'s children over whether to sell King's 1964 Nobel Peace Prize medal and the Bible he carried during the civil rights movement is now being mediated by former President Jimmy Carter.

King's sons, Martin Luther King III and Dexter King, want to sell their father's possessions, while the late civil rights leader's surviving daughter, Bernice King, opposes the sale, calling the items "sacred."

No dollar amount or prospective buyers have been publicly disclosed, but a group of anonymous donors paid an "undisclosed amount" for 10,000 King manuscripts and books, including drafts of his "I Have a Dream" speech, when they were set to be auctioned for an expected $30 million in 2006. 

Earlier this year, a judge in Georgia approved mediation to resolve the legal fight over the Bible and peace prize after attorneys in the case said they were close to an agreement and that a mediator would help finish it, reported Reuters.

King had no will when he was assassinated in 1968. His estate was inherited by his widow, Coretta Scott King, who died in 2006, and his four children, one of whom also has since died, according to court documents.

Carter, who is 91 and undergoing treatment for cancer that has spread to his brain, said in a statement he was optimistic about his work with King's children. He met with them on Monday at the Carter Center in Atlanta.

"I am honored to be working with the King family in an effort to resolve the outstanding legal issues relating to their remarkable family legacy," said Carter, who played a key role in Middle East peace negotiations during his presidency and also won a Nobel Peace Prize in 2002.

"I have great respect for each of the three heirs of this legacy. They are working diligently with me and I believe we will be able to resolve these difficult disputes once and for all."

In a joint statement released after Monday's meeting, the King siblings said, "We are truly honored and encouraged by President Carter’s involvement and we look forward to a positive resolution."

Carter and the King family said they would have no further comment because the mediation is confidential.

Martin III and Dexter, acting as majority board members of their father's estate, voted last year to sell the Peace Prize and Bible, which was used by President Barack Obama during his second inauguration.

The King estate then sued Bernice King after she refused to turn over the items. A judge later ordered her to surrender the Bible and medal to the court for safe keeping while the dispute was revolved.

Bernice King says her father gave the Nobel medal to her mother during his lifetime, which would mean the King estate does not control it. Lawyers for Martin Luther King Jr.'s estate refute that claim.

"Bernice readily admits, however, that she has absolutely no evidence to support this contention," the estate said in court filings. "It is nothing more than a belief, which is insufficient as a matter of law under Georgia law."

King won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, four years before he was assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee.


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The ugly dispute between Martin Luther King Jr.'s children over whether to sell King's 1964 Nobel Peace Prize medal and the Bible he carried during the civil rights movement is now being mediated by Former President Jimmy Carter.
jimmy carter, mlk, heirs, bible, peace, prize
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2015-49-07
Wednesday, 07 October 2015 06:49 AM
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