Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, Bernice King, is speaking out against her apparently money hungry brothers Martin Luther King III and Dexter King, the controllers of the MLK Jr’s estate.

In a letter printed in the Atlanta Journal Constitution Bernice King, an Atlanta minister, says that her brothers are trying to sell two of the family’s most prized possessions:  a Nobel Peace Prize Medal and a Bible belonging to their father. Ironically, this is the same bible used during Barack Obama’s inauguration.  The King brothers have filed a lawsuit against their sister since she won’t turn over the items:

King writes:

On January 20, as we observed my father’s 85th birthday and The King Holiday, my brothers, Dexter Scott King and Martin Luther King, III, notified me that they want to sell to a private buyer our father’s most prized possessions, his Nobel Peace Prize Medal and his personal Bible which was used by President Barak (sic) Obama as he was sworn in for his second term in office and subsequently signed by him.  I am absolutely opposed to the selling of these extremely sacred items and I expressed my opposition to my brothers.  Although these items have been under my care and custody for the past few years, they have remained in a safe and secure location since my father’s assassination, and my mother’s death in 2006.  After I refused to immediately transfer these items to another location at their request, consequently on January 31 my brothers through The Estate of Martin L. King, Jr., Inc filed a lawsuit {Civil Action No. 2014cv241929} to force me to turn these items over for the express purpose of selling them.  In my opinion, there is no justification for selling either of these sacred items.  They are priceless and should never be exchanged for money in the marketplace.

While I love my brothers dearly, this latest decision by them is extremely troubling.   Not only am I appalled and utterly ashamed, I am frankly disappointed that they would even entertain the thought of selling these precious items. It reveals a desperation beyond comprehension. As Mark 8:36 teaches, “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?”  Our Father MUST be turning in his grave.

As a minister of the Gospel, the thought of selling my daddy’s Bible troubles my mind, vexes my spirit and weighs on my soul.  The thought of profiting from the sale of the Peace Prize Medal, which my father accepted 50 years ago this year on behalf of the greatest demonstration of peace this nation has ever seen, is spiritually violent, unconscionable, historically negligent, and outright morally reprehensible.   This is especially true in light of the fact that my father gave away every dime of the Nobel award money to support the civil rights movement.

This is yet another battle between the King children, who can’t seem to get their family business in order after all of these years. Last year, the brothers filed a suit against Bernice because they felt The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change was negligent in handling King memorabilia. Poor Dr. King Jr. is rolling over in his grave.


  • MimiLuvs

    Does any of these people have careers?

  • vintage3000

    I feel so bad for Bernice. Her greedy brothers are ganging up on her and she has no one on her side. It’s awful that she is the same mournful little girl in that famous photo, and now her family has come to this.

  • geenababe

    Family conflict like this always happen that’s why it good to have very detailed instructions about who will handle what but even wills don’t get follow properly. I don’t agree with selling the items and can’t believe the two sons would want to sell a part of their dad for a few dollars.

  • 1Love

    No … Dexter & MLK III don’t have any real job that we know of here in ATL. They are just trying to ball off of daddy & momma’s legacy. The sale of these items would be shameful. What if some supremacist bought them and destroyed them?

  • Anthony

    That’s the problem. I think a lot of these offspring have lived off the King name. That’s why MLK’s papers are not in a research library or MSNBC had to pay $250,000 to play the whole March on Washington speech.

  • Phillygurl

    It goes to show your children don’t always value what you worked and sacrificed to acheive. So much for legacy.

  • omfg

    did the guys go to college and then try to create a life for themselves.

    maybe it’s hard living as the child of an assassinated black hero – malcolm x’s family seemed to have issues.

    but you have to pull yourself together and create your own life.

    i suspect though that perhaps the king brothers might believe they should be able to reap some monetary benefit from being the child of such a great man. i’m sure others have managed to profit in some way. but their father wasn’t born into a monied legacy like the kennedys or the bushes. there’s no legacy trust fund for them.

    if these items ever leave the family, they should go to the smithsonian in washington d.c. where they can be preserved and presented in perpetuity for all of us to see. they don’t belong in some rich person’s private collection.

  • SMH

    I know they should not have been expected to fill his shoes or even take up his work but who knew all they would do with MLK’s legacy is fight over it and sell it to the highest bidder. They all seem like they have achieved nothing other than using their fathers name and legacy for profit. What exactly do they do besides file lawsuits against each other?

  • Kam

    I don’t know but it seems like some of his children have no care for what their father did. They are always trying to cash in someway on what their father did.

  • MimiLuvs

    “…What if some supremacist bought them and destroyed them?”


    IMO, this is the scariest factor out of all of this. If these items are place on auction, then who will buy them?
    Whether if its a klansman or a “liberal, Northeastern Progressive” who buys the items, it just doesn’t sit well in my soul. Whether if those items are burn in a bonfire at a rally or are used as conversation pieces at a bougie dinner party, it doesn’t sit well for me.
    But I will say this: Can you imagine the “end results” amongst the BC, if those items were place in the wrong hands?

  • angel

    This is shameful

  • march pisces

    when i heard this story i thought about their sister yolanda and wondered if she were still alive would all this foolishness be going on.

    i hope (pray) bernice continues to stand her ground and that in whatever way possible the courts agree with her.

  • SugarSatan

    I’m not buying it that both brothers are money hungry,there’s definitely more to the story, another side we aren’t hearing,Bernice ain’t to swift her dang self.Are the objects being sold to support his legacy and organizations that are in his name?But whatever is going on I’m sure its not an easy decision for the brothers, I want to hear their side .

  • Starla

    Indeed it is! Reminds of the story of Jacob and Esau. These men are willing to sell their birthright for a a quick belly full.

  • mEE


  • Sdj

    These brothers are pathetic. Classless. They won’t take up the fight their father left, they just want to capitalize on what he was willing to die for. They are a disgrace to the community. That just goes to show that what you don’t work for you can’t appreciate. What losers. I can’t stand those lazy ungrateful clowns. They continue to disgrace us by fighting like ghetto project people who have no class. Dexter and Martin 3 I’m embarrassed by your opportunist life. I hope that money chokes the life out of you.

  • Sdj

    And what are they doing with all that money? It’s not going into the king center or the house he lived in. Have you been on a tour of the house in the summer? You will die of heat exhaustion! They have not built up the area around it, heck the parking lot is attrocious. They are spoiled rotten brats who never had the guts their parents had. What next? Sell his remains to the smithsonian?

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