King Estate Sues Mississippi News Anchor Over MLK Documents
Value of MLK secretary's minutes is estimated at $75,000
When will people learn not to mess with the King family when it comes to anything pertaining to Martin Luther King? The estate has just filed a lawsuit against a Mississippi news anchor that they claim has taken secret documents from a former King employee.
The estate of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has filed a federal lawsuit against a television news anchor in Mississippi claiming that he has documents taken from the slain civil rights leader by a former employee, the anchor's mother.
The lawsuit, which seeks possession of the papers, was filed Wednesday against Howard Nelson Ballou in U.S. District Court in Jackson. It says Ballou's mother worked for King as a secretary from 1955 to 1960 and kept documents during the time King led the Montgomery Improvement Association and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
Attorneys for the estate say in court papers that the letters, photographs and other items are worth more than $75,000, though the exact value is not clear.
The documents described in court records include a sermon; a statement King made the day after a landmark Supreme Court ruling on segregation; and a handwritten letter to Ballou's mother, Maude Ballou, from civil rights icon Rosa Parks. The material also is thought to contain photographs.
This isn't the first, and probably won't be the last time that the King estate has either sued or charged someone to use King's likeness.
Last month they charged the foundation that built the MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C. $800,000 to use quotes from his speeches. Multiple times in the past the estate has sued parties attempting to make movies and other media using the late civil rights leader's name.