Harry Belafonte sues Dr. Martin Luther King’s heirs over possessions
Performer and civil rights activist Harry Belafonte, who has made headlines recently with his spat with Jay-Z, is once again making the news.
This time, it’s because Mr. Belafonte has decided to sue the late Dr. Martin Luther King’s heirs.
Mr. Belafonte’s suit is in reference to three documents, photos and letters that chronicled his long friendship with King.
Belafonte says the items were given to him by King himself, his widow Coretta Scott King and Dr. King’s close aide Stanley Levison.
Dr. King’s heirs — Dexter, Bernice and Martin Luther King III — have said the documents were taken without permission and belong to the estate. Mr. Belafonte, who often supported the King family financially during the civil rights struggle, said the dispute pains him. He said in his view, Dr. King’s children had drifted away from their father’s values. “The papers are symbolic,” he said. “It’s really about what happened to the children, and I feel that somewhere, in this one area, I really failed Martin.”
Read more at the New York Times
One of the documents, an outline for Dr. King’s 1967 speech “The Casualties of the War in Vietnam,” was written in Belafonte’s apartment in New York.
Belafonte attempted to sell to documents to raise money for Barrios Unidos, a charity organization that works with gangs. Dr. King’s estate interceded the sale, stated that Belafonte was not the rightful possessor of the collection.
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Should Harry Belafonte be allowed to keep the possessions?
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