News

Belafonte sues MLK estate, daughter over documents

Belafonte sues MLK estate, daughter over documents

DOCUMENT DISPUTE: Harry Belafonte is suing the estate of Martin Luther King, Jr. Photo: Reuters

(Reuters) – U.S. singer and social activist Harry Belafonte has sued the estate of Martin Luther King Jr. in a dispute over ownership of documents that Belafonte said were given to him by the late civil rights leader and his wife, according to court documents filed on Tuesday.

In the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in New York, Belafonte asks the court to declare him the owner of three documents associated with King and his widow, Coretta Scott King, and to bar King’s estate and youngest daughter, Bernice King, permanently from trying to claim ownership of the items.

The disputed documents are an outline of King’s “Casualties of the War in Vietnam” speech that Belafonte said he has had in his possession since 1967, the “Memphis Speech” that was undelivered and found in one of King’s suit pockets after his 1968 assassination, and a condolence letter that President Lyndon Johnson sent to King’s widow after King’s death.

King’s estate and Bernice King disputed Belafonte’s ownership of the documents when the singer took the items to Sotheby’s auction house in New York to be appraised and put up for sale in 2008, the lawsuit said.

The items were withdrawn from auction after King’s estate and Bernice King said Belafonte had “wrongfully acquired” them, and they remain in Sotheby’s possession, according to court documents.

Belafonte’s lawsuit asks the court to declare that the documents were not taken wrongfully and to order that they be returned to him.

Belafonte, 86, known as the “King of Calypso” for his Caribbean-infused songs, was a close friend and supporter of King up until the civil rights leader’s assassination in Memphis, Tenn.

Latest Stories

in Entertainment

Stay Puft Marshmallow Man ruins your favorite movie

stay-puft

Again, the internet proved it's awesomeness with #AddAPuftRuinAMovie. These are some of our favorites!

in Sports

‘Johnny Football’ has a month to win Browns QB job

manziel

Johnny Manziel has found instant popularity since being drafted by the Cleveland Browns, but will have to wait until to find out if he has the starting quarterback job.

in National

U.S. courts deliver conflicting rulings on Obamacare

obamacare

A U.S. appeals court threw out a federal regulation that implements key subsidies that are vital to the health care overhaul.

in National

Armed bandits steal $181K from Atlantic City casino

casino

A manhunt is underway for masked robbers who stole $181,000 from Caesar's Atlantic City casino in New Jersey.

in Albemarle County, Charlottesville City, Local, Surrounding Counties, UVA

Charlottesville Named Happiest City In America

CvilleDowntownfromMontalto

Yet another honorable designation for our area, this time in a study by Harvard University.