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first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! ATLANTA (AP) – Two children of Martin Luther King Jr. said Friday they will fight any sale of the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change to the National Park Service, pitting them against their two younger siblings. Bernice King said she and Martin Luther King III believe the sale – which the center’s board voted to pursue earlier this month – would compromise the center’s independent voice. “Our father challenged our nation. He challenged the use of violence. If the King Center is sold to the government, our nation will lose that important legacy of challenge, equality and independence,” she said outside the center. All four of King’s children are board members. Martin Luther King III said Friday that he was replaced as its chairman by his brother Dexter King earlier this year, and that Bernice King was removed as secretary earlier this year. Their mother, Coretta Scott King, who founded the center shortly after the civil rights leader’s death in 1968, is recovering from a stroke she suffered in August and cannot verbally respond to the conflict. Board members who support the sale – including siblings Dexter King and Yolanda King and former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young – have said the transfer of power would let the family focus less on grounds maintenance and more on King’s message of nonviolence. A Park Service report issued last year estimated that the King Center needed $11.6 million in repairs. The report cited leaks in the reflective pool, collapsed drainage pipes and problems with loose and exposed wiring. The National Park Service already owns the King National Historic Site across the street and maintains Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church, where King preached from 1960 to 1968, as well as the King birth home and the visitors’ center. The King Center holds documents from the civil rights movement and the tomb of the Nobel Peace Prize winner. Martin and Bernice King said Friday their mother expressed her opinion on a possible sale earlier this year. “She felt at some point that it may, in fact, end up with the government, but she never envisioned that in her lifetime,” Bernice King said. Martin Luther King III said Friday he had neglected his board duties over the past decade but was ready to step up now. “The board of directors has been remiss in providing sufficient oversight regarding important governance of operational and program issues,” he said. “I take responsibility for my own failure.”last_img

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