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Bernice King, the youngest child of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., has decided she will not take the position of president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference at the group’s annual convention next month, a spokesman said Tuesday.

Bernard LaFayette said King would wait until a Fulton County judge has resolved the months-long internal struggle for control of the once-premier civil rights organization.

“She wanted to wait until all the stuff cleared with the court. Then she wanted to have that installation,” LaFayette told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Tuesday.

Bernice King, who is the first woman elected SCLC president, did not respond to a message seeking comment.

Bernice King, a minister at New Birth Missionary Church in Lithonia , was chosen last October to take the position that was once held by her father, co-founder of the organization, and her brother, Martin Luther King III.

Several dates have been set for her to take the position, only to be postponed.

In court testimony in the lawsuit filed in a dispute over who runs the group, one witness said the delay was because Bernice King had “demands” that had not been met and she wanted a contract before taking the job.

LaFayette said King simply wanted to put off taking the position because “she didn’t want to do it in the midst of the crisis.”

The internal power struggle that has blown into a court fight began at the end of last year when questions were raised about $569,000 Raleigh Trammell, then the chairman, and Spiver Gordon, the treasurer at the time, had spent from SCLC accounts.

Trammell, of Dayton, Ohio, and Gordon of Eutaw, Ala., initially agreed to step down until suspicions were calmed. But then the two men and their backers sued to stay in control.

Read the full story here.


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