Martin Luther King Jr.'s Nobel medal, Bible placed in care of court

Wed Feb 19, 2014 8:33pm EST
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By David Beasley

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Martin Luther King Jr.'s Nobel Peace Prize medal and personal Bible must be moved to a court-controlled safety deposit box, a judge ruled on Wednesday as the late civil rights leader's children are engaged in a fight over ownership of his estate.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney said once the medal and Bible are moved, "they won't go anywhere until we resolve this matter."

Under the judge's order, both items will be stored in a single bank box and the judge will hold the keys.

King, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, was assassinated four years later in Memphis, Tennessee.

His two sons, Dexter and Martin Luther King III, want to sell the Nobel medal and the Bible. Their sister, Bernice King, is opposing the sale.

The King estate sued Bernice King in late January, seeking an emergency court order forcing her to return the Nobel Prize and Bible, saying she signed a 1995 agreement giving control of King's possessions to the estate.

"While I love my brothers dearly, this latest decision by them is extremely troubling," she said in a statement after the lawsuit was filed. "Our Father MUST be turning in his grave."

Currently, King's Nobel Peace Prize medal is in a bank safety deposit box and the Bible, which President Obama used in his second inauguration ceremony, is at the non-profit Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Change in Atlanta, said Eric Barnum, Bernice King's lawyer.   Continued...

A general view of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the U.S. national holiday in his honor, in Washington, January 20, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst