Saturday, August 13, 2022

Siblings Block New African-American Museum from MLK Jr.’s Artifacts 🙁

National Museum of African-American History and Culture
National Museum of African-American History and Culture

*When the Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture opens on Sept. 24, no major artifacts from the late civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. will be on display. According to the, this is primarily because of King’s children, Bernice, Martin III and Dexter.

For years, the siblings “have blocked media outlets from using King’s words or image without paying what some have described as exorbitant licensing fees.”

They have also taken each other to court repeatedly. Most recently, Martin and Dexter sued Bernice over who has the authority to sell King’s Nobel Peace Prize and traveling Bible. Former President Jimmy Carter was brought in to help mediate an agreement about it. When that didn’t work, a judge settled the matter instead — giving the brothers the right to sell the Nobel Prize and Bible.

Martin III contacted the museum with an offer to loan the Bible and Nobel Peace Prize, but only for a large profit, according to the Washington Post.

“[The Bible] was heavier than I thought it would be,” remembers Rex Ellis, the museum’s associate director of curatorial affairs. “Not only was it the weight of the object itself but the weight of what it was. You’re holding it like it’s a baby. I was uncomfortable holding it for long.”

READ RELATED NEWS: Settled At Last: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Kids Resolve Nobel Peace Prize Dispute

Ellis didn’t hold King’s Bible for long, as the meeting with Martin III ended without a loan, or any promises.

“It’s outrageous,” said Clarence Jones, the former King attorney who filed the copyright for his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. “This is the Smithsonian. This is not just another party. This is one of the most important institutions now in the 21st century. And this is probably the greatest civil rights leader in the 20th century. I find it shameful and I’m sad.”

Historian David J. Garrow said he’s not surprised that the museum will open without a single item loaned by the King family.

“I could not be more cynical, more jaded on this subject,” said Garrow, who won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize for his book “Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.” “Given the family’s behavior this last 20 years, they’re unlikely to have any interest in sharing without a large upfront payment.”

(L-R) Martin Luther King III, Dexter King and Bernice King
(L-R) Martin Luther King III, Dexter King and Bernice King

Get the FULL story via the Washington Post.


Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is an entertainment reporter with over 15 years of experience working in the film industry in areas including production and post-production, marketing, distribution, and acquisitions. She has worked for legendary film producer Roger Corman, Quentin Tarantino's production team at Miramax, the late Larry Flynt, MTV/ VH1, Hallmark Channel, Paramount, Jim Henson Co., Parade Magazine, and various LA-based companies representing above-the-line talent.




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