King’s children infighting hurts many

Published 1:10 am Monday, July 21, 2008

It’s a fight as old as the family structure.

Who gets what, how much and how will it be used?

In the case of the King children — Martin Luther III, Dexter, Yolanda and Bernice — it’s not as simple a matter as where the money goes.

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Instead, the four are openly fighting about how best to represent the legacy of their father and mother built.

It is disheartening that this dispute has become uglier and increasingly public since Coretta Scott King’s death two years ago.

It gives the impression that the four held appearances together for fear of shaming their mother.

They have gone as fair as taking sides against each other. Bernice and Martin opposed the other two in 2005 to dispute the sale of the King Center, a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr.

Now a lawsuit has been filed against Dexter, the youngest of the siblings, claiming he has failed to provide essential documents, including financial records and contracts, regarding the handling of his father’s estate.

This dispute, no matter how substantial, is representative of a bigger problem. As the leaders in the civil Rights Movement begin to die off, the beneficiaries of that movement become further removed from its purpose. Fighting over petty matters distracts us from more important goals.

When the King siblings fight among themselves, it has the potential to cause a destructive ripple effect. For decades, one of the world’s most famous families relied on solidarity to act as representative of a greater cause.

This fight, no matter how substantial it proves to be, weakens any message sent out from an ongoing struggle to unify a worldwide community.

We do not presume to discredit the legitimacy of any legal battles the King siblings wage against one another. We only wish they would consider that the eyes of people who still believe in a dream are watching.