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The items were withdrawn from auction after King’s estate and Bernice King said Belafonte had “wrongfully acquired” them, and they remain in Sotheby’s possession, according to court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

Falcons romp to 56-14 win over hapless Buccaneers

Fresh
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) throws during warmups before an NFL preseason football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Jacksonville, Fla., Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014.

Atlanta built a stunning 56-0 lead. Tampa Bay scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to avoid the worst loss in franchise history.

in Local Sports

Soccer: Unbeaten Vikings win 3-0 at Central Washington

Updated
wwu western washington university congrats vikes vikings from kpug

No.6 WWU scores three times in first 24 minutes in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference opener.

in Local Sports

Seahawks’ Sherman laughs off reports that he was ‘exposed’ in loss at San Diego

San Diego Chargers wide receiver Eddie Royal, left, pushes off Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman during the second half of an NFL football game on Sunday, Sept. 14, 2014, in San Diego.

Sherman responds to critics following Seahawks' loss at San Diego; now turns attention to Super Bowl rematch Sunday against Broncos.

in Sports

Police: Cardinals RB Dwyer head-butted wife

This is a 2014 photo of Jonathan Dwyer of the Arizona Cardinals NFL football team. This image reflects the Arizona Cardinals active roster as of Monday, June 9, 2014 when this image was taken.

Police say Cardinals running back Jonathan Dwyer head-butted his wife and broke her nose, Cards also release Chris Rainey for his history of domestic violence.

in Entertainment

Kevin Spacey’s stalker sentenced to 4 years

kevin

A Massachusetts woman who threatened to torture the actor has been sentenced to more than four years behind bars.