MLK Jr.'s Sons Celebrate 50th Anniversary Of 'I Have A Dream' By Suing His Daughter
from the making-dad-proud-the-only-way-they-know-how dept
Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream, a dream that one day his sons would sue his daughter over the control of his body of work -- and on the fiftieth anniversary of his famous speech. As he boldly stated 50 years ago, the only way to ensure racial harmony is through familial infighting.
If Dr. King were alive today, along with having to offer his opinion on Miley Cyrus, he'd be shocked to hear his famous speech paraphrased this way -- and his legacy being handled in this fashion. He would also likely be astonished that each anniversary of his speech is marked by vanishing Youtube videos and the arrival of DMCA notices and cease and desist orders.
But that's what we have, thanks to his legacy being "safeguarded" by siblings who sue each other.
In a lawsuit filed Aug. 28 in Fulton County Court, the Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Inc. -- run by King's sons, Martin Luther King III and Dexter King -- claims it licensed the civil rights activist's intellectual property rights to The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in March 2009."Supports it," but only up to a point, apparently. Not that Bernice King is exactly blameless.
The King Center's CEO is Bernice King, the youngest child of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who was assassinated in 1968.
Dr. King's estate claims it supports the center's mission to maintain King's legacy and has been the nonprofit's single largest individual donor for the past decade.
[I]t says the center has been careless with Dr. King's intellectual property, which includes the leader's "name, image, recorded voice and memorabilia," along with "all works of authorship ... including writings, speeches, sermons, letters and copyrights," trademark interests, and "the remains and coffin contained within the crypt of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr."So, on one hand, we have King's estate, which has never missed an opportunity to capitalize on the "I have a dream" speech and, on the other, someone who clearly doesn't value what they have. If nothing else, Bernice King should put her soon-to-be-gone collection the hands of people (other than her siblings) who know the value of returning certain "property" to the public. (Perhaps someone like this history professor:)
The estate says it conducted an audit in April, which "revealed that the current manner of care and storage of the physical property by defendant is unacceptable." It claims the items are "susceptible to damage by fire, water, mold, and mildew, as well as theft."
King's sons say they tried to work with their sister to fix the problems, but the relationship "has recently become strained, resulting in a total breakdown in communication and transparency."
And King's estate holders need to return a speech given publicly back to public and stop turning this momentuous event into nothing more than a series of transactions. His sons have to have some idea of how the public views their mercenary exploits. They can't be that obtuse, can they? Or do they think their father would be proud to know his voice and likeness is more likely to be used to emancipate people from lousy wireless service than to be spread throughout the internet in order to inspire new generations of Americans?