Dr. King's Family Soils His Legacy With Belafonte Diss

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[Black Star News Editorial]

If someone was unaware that toilet paper was stuck on their shoe aren’t you obligated to let them know?

Some of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s children who control his estate have been a phenomenal embarrassment to their great father’s legacy. It’s time to let them know; they must lose the toilet paper. Their love for money; nay, their greed, knows no decorum or bounds at all.

The instant embarrassment is a threatening letter sent Tuesday by the King family to Sotheby’s, which was about to auction some King memorabilia owned by Harry Belafonte. The King family claims the documents were “wrongfully acquired,” in their letter, implying that Belafonte, a renowned civil rights activist; humanitarian; scholar; human rights activist; and artist, may have pilfered the items.

Belafonte, according to a media report, planned to donate proceeds from the auction to organizations engaged in helping disenfranchised people. Belafonte had intended to auction a letter of condolence by President Lyndon Johnson after Dr. King’s murder, which according to a media report was given to him by Coretta Scott King; Dr. King’s notes of his speech opposing the Vietnam War, which he gave to Belafonte; and notes found in Dr. King’s pocket, after his assassination, which was given to Belafonte by a former King aide.

Belafonte was one of Dr. King’s biggest and most loyal backer, having met him in the mid-1950s at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem. Belafonte supported King morally as well as financially; he also helped rally people in the entertainment industry to support King and his crusade.

After Dr. King was stabbed in Harlem and thought he was going to die, he confided to Belafonte that his biggest fear was wondering about who would take care for his children in his absence. Belafonte assured Dr. King that he would never have to worry about finances and his children’s care. Belafonte reportedly paid school tuition for the King children.

And how are these good deeds of a great compassionate man with a peerless heart repaid by some of Dr. King’s children? They showed the whole world that they stood on the wrong side of the tracks of the liberation railroad when they disinvited Belafonte, who was supposed to deliver the eulogy, at the funeral services for Coretta Scott King in 2006 at the historic Ebenezer Baptist church when George Bush also decided to attend. Belafonte during a visit to Venezuela had famously denounced Bush for his war mongering in Iraq.

So the King family decided to ditch the warrior for global peace and justice, who had risked his life and lucrative entertainment career to support their father because Dr. King was a big man with a big vision, in favor of a man whose father, George H.W. Bush, voted against the Civil Rights Amendment when he was a senator from Texas.

If any doubts remained about their level of greed and treachery, some members of Dr. King’s family again stabbed Belafonte in the back this week. Yet, it’s not that surprising, in recent weeks, some members of the King family have threatened to sue street vendors selling T-shirts with the images of both President Elect Barack Obama and Dr. King. The family had reportedly already earned nearly $40 million from the City of Atlanta from the earlier sale of King's papers.  

The members of the family controlling the estate are a disgrace to Dr. King’s legacy.


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