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MLK Children Continue Fight Over Peace Prize Medal, Bible

FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2006 file photo, the children of Martin Luther King Jr.,and Coretta Scott King, left to right, Dexter Scott King, Rev. Bernice King, Martin Luther King III and Yolanda King participate in a musical tribute to their mother at the new Ebenezer Baptist Church  in Atlanta Monday, Feb. 6, 2006.  A judge in Atlanta is set to hear motions Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, in the legal dispute that pits Martin Luther King Jr.’s two sons against his daughter Bernice in a dispute over two of his most cherished items. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
FILE - In this Feb. 6, 2006 file photo, the children of Martin Luther King Jr.,and Coretta Scott King, left to right, Dexter Scott King, Rev. Bernice King, Martin Luther King III and Yolanda King participate in a musical tribute to their mother at the new Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta Monday, Feb. 6, 2006. A judge in Atlanta is set to hear motions Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, in the legal dispute that pits Martin Luther King Jr.’s two sons against his daughter Bernice in a dispute over two of his most cherished items. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Credit John Bazemore, File / Associated Press

The beautiful melody of the annual King holiday once again is being marred by the discord between the three living children of Coretta and Martin Luther King Jr.

The case pits the two brothers ─ Martin III and Dexter ─ against their sister, Bernice, over possession of their father’s Nobel Peace Prize medal and his Bible. It was in court on Jan. 13.

A week from now, they are expected to be back in another courtroom on another case. This one even more extreme ─ the for-profit King Estate versus the non-profit King Center.Commentator Maria Saporta gives her take on the dispute.

It is such a sad story ─ not only for the King legacy and for Atlanta ─ but especially for Martin, Dexter and Bernice.

Truth be told, I have known and loved each of them since I was 11 years old. They have been through so much: the loss of both their parents and their oldest sister, Yolanda ─ my best friend in fifth and sixth grade.

Assuredly, they have been their own worst enemies.

But they also have been unfairly maligned in the press, often through no fault of their own.

Their father was not a rich man. The main things he had of value were his writings and his words. He had all of his speeches and sermons copyrighted. That’s what he left to his heirs.

Although we feel Martin Luther King Jr.’s teachings belong to all of us, his writings and his words actually do belong to his children. And they do have a right to benefit from them — just as the heirs of Henry Ford and John F. Kennedy have the right to benefit from their families estates.

But every time the siblings go to court, they just bring more tarnish to their generation. And they further damage the relationships they have with each other.

So in the name of love — please — stop.

Find a way to lay down your swords and make peace. Draw upon your parents’ wisdom of non-violence and resolve your differences for the public good.

What a fitting way that would be to honor your parents.

Maria Saporta is the editor of SaportaReport.com.