Rev. Dr. Bernice King, CEO of The King Center for Non-Violent Social Change, and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., speaks as members of the King family walk behind at the Let Freedom Ring ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, in Washington, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It was 50 years ago today when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the memorial.
Carolyn Kaster, Associated Press - Ap
Rev. Dr. Bernice King, CEO of The King Center for Non-Violent Social Change, and daughter of Martin Luther King Jr., speaks at the Let Freedom Ring ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. It was 50 years ago today when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech from the steps of the memorial.
Carolyn Kaster, ASSOCIATED PRESS
Lawsuit shows rift among relatives of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
- Article by: Shelia Poole and Ernie Suggs
- Cox Newspapers
- September 2, 2013 - 11:17 PM
ATLANTA – On the day the world celebrated the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, a long-simmering conflict among his children escalated.
While dozens of dignitaries, including the president and two former presidents, were praising King last week, the King estate filed suit in Fulton County Superior Court calling for King Center CEO Bernice King to be placed on administrative leave, pending the final outcome of an audit of the center, and for the removal of former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young and Alveda King, a cousin, from the board.
Dexter King is the president of the King estate and Martin King III is the chairman of the board. All the parties are also members of the King Center’s board, with Dexter King serving as its chair. The sixth member of the board is Christine King Farris, Martin Luther King Jr.’s sister.
“It is disappointing that such a case, which is entirely without legal merit, has been filed the same week the nation is celebrating the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s speech, which electrified our country and whose work serves as the center’s inspiration,” said Stephen Ryan, an attorney representing Bernice King. “Bernice King, Andrew Young and Alveda King are three King Center board members who will vigorously defend the King Center.”
On the anniversary of King’s speech, Ryan said, Bernice King, Alveda King and Young did not know that a suit would be filed that day. They didn’t learn about the lawsuit until Friday.
“I don’t understand what is going on,” said Young, the only nonfamily member of the board. “I still hope that we will be able to work it out.”
A spokeswoman for King III said he was not immediately available. Questions sent to an attorney for the estate were not returned.
During the anniversary celebration, there was an audible gasp at the event as the siblings gathered on the steps of the Lincoln Monument and embraced.
Photos of the embrace became an instant hit on social media.
“The three of them look so good on the stage together,” said Young, a longtime confidant of the family, who was also in Washington for the celebration. “I thought Wednesday was a splendid statement that the movement was alive and well after 50 years.”
Alveda King saw the siblings and their families during the March on Washington commemoration in Washington and said the relationship “didn’t appear to be strained.”
“They have differing opinions, which is why there is a lawsuit, but they’re still family and they love each other, they really do.”
© 2013 Star Tribune