MLK's Children Fight For Rights To Father's Legacy In Lawsuit Against Andrew Young

News & Views | Bené Viera | 12/02/2013 | 01:30 PM EST

Dr. King's sons lawsuit against Andrew Young says the former Atlanta mayor infringed on their copyright.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s children are doing everything in their power to protect the legacy and rights of their father. Unfortunately, that includes a lawsuit against former Atlanta mayor Andrew Young who was one of Dr. King’s top aides.


King’s sons filed the lawsuit against Young in August, on the 50th anniversary of the March On Washington where Dr. King made his infamous “I Have A Dream” speech. According to ABC, the issue is “who has the rights to King’s words and image and how far do those rights extend.” A documentary produced by Young’s foundation shows footage of Dr. King that Martin Luther King III and Dexter King claim was used without permission. They both have control of their father’s estate as chairman and president/CEO.


Young was influential in his civil rights efforts alongside Dr. King. He believes he has as much right to footage as the children. "They said I infringed on their copyright. Well, I don't think so, because I think it was my right — it's mine also."


Although Young disagrees that he infringed on their copyright he will not bad talk the children. "I understand the reason for it. I think it's the way things go, and the way probably they ought to go," the former Atlanta mayor, congressman and United Nations ambassador said. "We took many cases to
court, simply to have the doctrines clarified and to have a court consider the merits."


The Kings aren’t strangers to lawsuits. They’ve filed against activist Harry Belafonte, the son of Maude Ballou who was King’s secretary and Bernice and Martin III sued their brother Dexter. Despite it all Young remains positive.


"Whenever I hear people criticize them, I say, remember, none of them were even teenagers when their father was killed and they've done pretty good," Young said. "It's almost impossible for anyone to live up to that name."

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