The children of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. are putting aside their differences, but there’s more to come.
To restore their parents’ legacy in the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, Bernice King, Dexter King and Martin Luther King III have reached common ground, a family member told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
By the end of this month, the King Center plans to announce a prominent, new board member, as well as a significant donation, to advance the center.
Last year, a Fulton County Superior Court judge ordered the family to reorganize the leadership at the center. Last month, the siblings agreed to appoint Martin King as the center’s president and chief executive officer.
“Bernice, Martin and I are very excited about our shared vision,” Dexter King said in a statement. “It’s the right time and Martin is in the right place to take this great organization forward.”
Under the direction of court-appointed custodian Terry Giles, the three King children have been able to come to terms on restructuring the governance of the center and King Inc., the family company that controls Martin Luther King’s copyrighted material, images and intellectual property.
“It became clear that they need to work together,” Giles said Tuesday night.
Since January, Giles has been working with the Kings to iron out differences he said came from “mistrust and a lack of communication.”
What brought them together now?
“I think it was awareness that the fighting has caused harm to their dad’s legacy,” Giles said. “Once they sat down and began to discuss the issues, they found that they had a lot more in common than they thought.”
Andrew Young, a Martin Luther King confidante, former Atlanta mayor and standing center board member, while not privy to the Kings’ reconciliation talks, didn’t think they could remain far apart for long on any issue.
“They’ve always been brothers and sister and they act that way around me,” Young said.
Martin King said he looks forward to working with his brother at the center.
“Dexter has done a tremendous job at the helm,” Martin King said. “I am delighted to join as president and CEO.”
The center was founded in 1968 by the slain civil rights leader’s wife, Coretta Scott King, to serve as a living memorial for the senior Martin Luther King’s accomplishments and to further the work of research and training in the principles and methods of nonviolent social change.
Since Coretta Scott King’s death in 2006 and the death of oldest child Yolanda King in 2007, the remaining siblings have disputed everything from the leadership and sale of the King Center to the use of their mother’s love letters to their father.