Court Assumes Temporary Control of MLK Bible, Nobel Prize

WI Web Staff | 2/20/2014, 3 p.m.
Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph Abernathy listen to speakers during a Southern Christian Leadership Conference meeting. The embattled civil rights organization is now led by King's daughter Bernice King. (Courtesy photo)

A judge in Georgia ruled Wednesday that the traveling Bible and Nobel Peace Prize of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. be kept in a court-controlled safe deposit box until King's children settle a long-standing legal battle over the items.

King's sons, Martin Luther King III and Dexter King, control the estate, which filed a complaint earlier this year in Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta to force his daughter, Bernice, to turn over the items.

Bernice charges that her brothers are looking to sell the items, which she argues are heirlooms that shouldn't be sold at any price.

According to the complaint, while King's children agreed in 1995 to give up their inheritance to the estate, Bernice King has "repeatedly acknowledged and conceded the validity" of the agreement but has "secreted and sequestered" the items in question, CNN reported.

The judge said that the law will likely rule on the side of the estate in the matter, ordered that the two items be placed in the safe deposit box in the meantime, with only the court in possession of the keys.

The three siblings are the sole remaining heirs to their father's estate. King's eldest child, Yolanda, died in May 2007 at 51.