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MLK children divided on sale of items

ATLANTA — The daughter of Martin Luther King Jr. urged her brothers on Thursday to search their consciences and reconsider their plan to sell the civil rights icon’s Bible and Nobel Peace Prize.

King’s estate is run by his two sons, Martin Luther King III and Dexter King. The estate’s lawyers filed court papers Jan. 31 asking a judge to order their sister, the Rev. Bernice King, to surrender the items. A lawyer for the estate said at a court hearing last month that the estate has been in conversations with entities that want to buy or lease them.

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Bernice King has repeatedly said she opposes any such deal.

‘‘I implore you to consider the magnitude of this moment in history and how you want your individual legacies to be defined,’’ she said at a news conference.

The estate’s lawyers had asked a judge to order King to turn over the items, saying the potential deals to sell or lease them were time sensitive.

Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney declined to do that at a hearing last month, saying it would be more appropriate to maintain the status quo until the ownership dispute is resolved.

He ordered that the items be kept in a safe deposit box in the name of the estate but that the keys be given to the court.

McBurney set a deadline of Wednesday for the items to be placed in the safe deposit box. Bernice King’s lawyer said the parties’ conflicting schedules didn’t allow them to meet that deadline and that the judge agreed to extend it to Monday.

King said some people had urged her to refuse to hand over the items and to go to jail instead. But she said she will comply with the judge’s order.

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