Martin Luther King's children battling over estate - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Martin Luther King's children battling over estate

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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ATLANTA (FOX13) -

What would Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. want? That's the question as his three children are again embroiled in a legal fight over possession of King's personal Bible and Nobel Peace Prize.

Once as children they marched lock-step in body and in mind with their grieving mother, Coretta Scott King, in a somber funeral procession honoring their slain father in Atlanta. Days before in Memphis, Mrs. King issued a clarion call to preserve her husband Martin's legacy.

"I would challenge you today to see that his spirit never dies," Scott King said in 1968.

MORE: www.MLKinMemphis.com

But, the continuing legal warfare being waged by Dr. King's surviving children now finds them embroiled in a battle over their late father's Bible and Nobel Peace Prize, both currently in the possession of daughter Bernice. At a news conference, the King clan's youngest candidly expressed the disappointment her family's squabbles over money, possession, and power have cast on her father's memory.

"Our father must be turning in his grave," Bernice King said. "My brothers want to sell and I say not on my watch."

The King siblings taking each other to court has become an all too familiar and painful sight for almost a decade. In 2005, oldest son Dexter and brother, Martin Luther King III, as members of the King Center Board of Directors, voted to sell the facility to the federal government. However, Bernice didn't go for the sale saying it would compromise their father's legacy.

Three years later, Dexter wanted to sue Bernice for their mother's personal papers needed to complete a $1 million book deal. Dexter brokered a movie deal about their father's life, which Steven Spielberg was set to produce, but couldn't get the backing the other two.

In 2008, both Bernice and Martin III attempted to sue Dexter over the way he handled funds in his father and mother's estate. The night before the case went to court the trio reached an agreement.

As for the latest rift, Bernice insists her father would have never approved of the selling of his Bible or the medal. She said despite the turmoil she hanging on in the name of a righteous cause.

"If it means I have to pay the price, I have to do that," Bernice King said. "Sometimes you have to be willing to pay the price even if it means your own family".

But, then the Kings are not just any other family.

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