Esteemed performer and social activist Harry Belafonte is in yet another squabble this year. Back in the summer, Belafonte’s accusations that Jay-Z and Beyonce turning their backs on social responsibility fueled heated debates about celebrities’ roles in charity. This this time around, his target is the estate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On Tuesday, he filed a lawsuit against Dexter, Bernice, and Martin Luther King III — Dr. King’s three surviving children — over three documents he tried selling at an auction. According to the New York Times:
One of the documents is a three-page outline for Dr. King’s 1967 speech “The Casualties of the War in Vietnam,” written on a legal pad in Mr. Belafonte’s New York apartment. The second is a letter of condolence from President Lyndon B. Johnson to Mrs. King. The third is an envelope Dr. King had in his pocket the day he was assassinated in 1968. On it he had scribbled notes for a speech he was to give in Memphis.
Belafonte tried selling the documents at Sotheby’s auction back in 2008, only for Dr. King’s estate to challenge the ownership of the papers. They claimed they were the property of the estate and taken without permission. The sale will remain at a standstill until the case is resolved.
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