Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney last month
ordered Bernice King to relinquish the prize and Bible so they can
be placed in a safe deposit box controlled by the court, until a
lawsuit filed by the King estate is resolved.
"While some have suggested that I not turn over these sacred items
and risk going to jail, I must say that after a great deal of
dialogue, discussion, deep soul-searching and much prayer, I am led
by the Holy Spirit to comply with the court order," Bernice King
said in a news conference at Ebenezer Baptist Church, where her
father and grandfather once preached.
The estate sued Bernice King in late January, seeking an emergency
court order to force her to return the prize and Bible, saying she
signed a 1995 agreement giving control of King's possessions to the
On January 22, King's two sons, Dexter King and Martin Luther King
III, as board members of the King estate, voted to pursue the sale
of the medal and Bible while Bernice King voted against it. The
Bible was used by President Obama to take the oath in his second
At the news conference, joined by about 20 supporters including
Atlanta City Council president Ceasar Mitchell, Bernice King urged
her two brothers to call another vote of the estate's board of
directors on selling the items.
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"To my two brothers, whom I love and respect greatly, I implore you
to consider the magnitude of this moment in history and how you want
your individual legacies to be defined," she said.
William Hill, attorney for the King estate, declined to comment on
Bernice King's comments.
King, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964, was assassinated
four years later in Memphis, Tennessee.
(Editing by David Adams and Gunna Dickson)
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