Is Mediation Really Needed for King Children?
A legal battle over the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s traveling Bible and 1964 Nobel Peace Prize is headed for court-ordered mediation, according to the Associated Press.
The estate, which is controlled by Dr. King's sons, last year asked a judge to order their sister to surrender the items. In a board of directors meeting last year, Martin Luther King III and Dexter Scott King voted 2-1 against Bernice King to sell the two artifacts to a private buyer.
The two sides on Wednesday told Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney that they're close to an agreement but not quite there.
A lawyer for Bernice King asked the judge to order mediation, and the estate's lawyer did not oppose that. McBurney said he would issue an order outlining the terms for mediation next week.
I don't think there is any amount of money that would cause me to sell these items if they were my father's. The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded based on Dr. King's peaceful fight for civil rights, where he endured numerous assaults and cruel treatment. The Bible involved in the dispute is the one he carried with him while fighting for civil rights.
I agree with Bernice King that these items are priceless and should not be sold. However, if the issue is one of financial need, there is a VERY reasonable alternative: The King estate should construct a tour of the items.
They could be a traveling exhibit, placed so that they may not be touched by museum customers. Slide shows could be prepared, highlighting some of Dr. King's notes in his bible. The exhibit could travel week by week for a year and then placed in a protected location by the family. If museums charged an additional fee to this exhibit, the family could recover a nice sum while maintaining ownership. They could organize the tour to run once every five years or so. The limited access would make people want to visit the exhibit each time. This could be a bargaining tool for the family to use to determine which museums win bids for the exhibit... Which is even more money for the estate.
It's really not rocket science. Again, I'd never sell such sacred items, but if I needed money, I'd definitely use the items to make the money for me.... And if the King children catch wind of my idea and want to use it, will somebody please tell them that I deserve a consultation fee?