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The items were withdrawn from auction after King’s estate and Bernice King said Belafonte had “wrongfully acquired” them, and they remain in Sotheby’s possession, according to court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

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

Coming soon: The Mustache Hall of Fame

burtreynolds

There are halls of fame for everything from baseball to rock 'n' roll, so why not those with a hairy upper lip?

in Music

This week’s top country tracks

Jason Aldean

LISTEN: This week's top country tracks, according to the latest Billboard chart.

in Black Friday, Lifestyle, National

Walmart ups ante on holiday shopping

walmart

Starting Saturday, Walmart will do whatever it takes to rope in holiday shoppers however they want to buy.

in Entertainment

Inspiration for ‘Harry Potter’ nemesis revealed

harrypotter

J.K. Rowling says the much-hated character Dolores Umbridge is based on a teacher to whom she took an instant dislike.

in Lifestyle

App turns your smartphone into a breathalyzer

beer

Alcohoot turns your smartphone into a portable, personal breathalyzer.