One suit dropped, one remains in dispute between MLK’s children

23 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Georgia: Dr. King’s Children End One Suit Over Legacy.

ATLANTA (Reuters) – One of two lawsuits involving the children of the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. has been dropped, possibly signaling a thaw in their tense relations as they continue to fight over the sale of his Bible and Nobel Peace Prize. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, the nonprofit group set up by their mother, Coretta Scott King, that is run by their sister, Bernice Albertine King. The four letters in the print edition reflect a range of opinions from unqualified support for the protesters to questioning their maturity, while two seem sympathetic with their cause but skeptical of their tactics. In any fight for justice, tactics will always be a hot topic, with people who are all in complete accord on the desired outcomes disagreeing vehemently on the methods.

The estate said in its suit that it had granted the King Center a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free license to use King’s name, likeness and image and to publicly exhibit his writings and spoken words. The protracted struggle of black people of America demanding fairness, equality and dignity is truly remarkable and illustrates how people have to fight for their rightseven in well-trenched democracies.

But an audit done in April 2013 revealed that artifacts were being held in unsafe and unsecure conditions and that the terms of the licensing agreement had been violated, the suit said. Dexter King said in a statement that pulling the lawsuit was a show of good faith as the siblings were set to enter talks aimed at resolving their differences outside a courtroom. However, it is clear that King, whose own tactical sense changed over time, was not opposed to causing inconvenience and cognitive discomfort among the general population in his efforts to raise awareness of issues and further the cause of justice. Still pending is the suit between the estate and Bernice King over possession of the Bible that their father carried during the civil rights movement and his 1964 Nobel Prize. This month, Martin had seemed to switch allegiance, or at least to distance himself from his brother, in an effort to resolve the situation with his sister.

In a 2-1 vote of the estate’s board last year, King’s sons voted to sell the items, while Bernice King opposed the sale, calling the items “sacred.” An Atlanta judge earlier this month heard arguments from each side in the case, which is scheduled to go to trial next month unless it is settled or dismissed. Dexter said in an emailed statement Thursday that he instructed the estate’s lawyers to withdraw the lawsuit because it appeared his brother, Martin, had had a recent change of heart.

King combined moral concept of love- agape (as revealed in Jesus, is unconditional and sacrificial form with highest purity) and principles of non-violence and put them into practice to bring about social reforms. Her attorneys contest the validity of that agreement, arguing that the estate failed to comply with a 2009 court ruling to submit a list establishing title to King’s personal property. King used passive resistance methods like fasting, sit-ins (dharnas in Indian parlance), selective buying (boycotting businesses that practiced discrimination) to his benefit.

When Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat to a white man in a local bus in Montgomery, King was thrown into a civil right cause that would catapult him to the national scene. As the events took shape, the black community there organised itself into Montgomery Improvement Association (MIA) and King was elected the President.

The boycott lasted for 381 days and the non-violent movement was a triumph for the blacks in USA when Supreme Court upheld that segregation in the buses was unconstitutional. Now the face of freedom struggle for blacks, King for the next 12 years led several successful battles for civil rights in USA until he was assassinated in 1968 just at the age of 39. King was a prominent voice in fight against denial of voter rights, segregation in schools, denial of public facilities, inequality in employment and jobs and fight against poverty.

He took a philosophical stand that “in the final analysis, the white man cannot ignore the Negro problem, because he is part of the Negro and the Negro is a part of him. The city was a most thoroughly segregated city, voter rights were blatantly violated, discrimination in jobs was most prevalent and day to day discrimination, humiliation and violence against the blacks was order of the day.

Selma (Alabama State) is another success story where King played an important role in highlighting obstructive tactics used by racist authorities in black voter registrations. The entire struggle culminated in passage of Civil Rights Act in 1964 granting full rights to African-Americans in terms of voting rights, access to public places and ending discrimination in employment. Throughout his public life, King was jailed for more than 20 times, faced violent attacks several times from white supremacistsand his home was bombarded.

The phenomena of wars, slavery, colonisation, apartheid, and untouchability in human history are a pointer towards the struggle that we have to constantly endure to be free. Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle, the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

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