Los Angeles Times
Martin Luther King Jr. often spoke of the need to turn away from “destructive selfishness,” said Jonathan Turley. “It is a lesson that appears lost on his own children.” For years, the great civil-rights leader’s surviving four children have shamelessly mined their father’s image for private profit.
Their greed hit a new low last week with the revelation that they had charged an $800,000 licensing fee to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, which plans to use his words and likeness on a King memorial at the Washington Mall. This, sadly, is the King family’s modus operandi: The Kings once successfully sued USA Today and CBS for unauthorized use of their father’s “I Have a Dream” speech. They charged fat fees for companies to exploit King’s words in commercials, and tried to auction off many of King’s papers. Today, they’re suing one another over control of funds and King materials.
King was not a commodity to be peddled like soap or cornflakes. He was a historic public figure whose enduring legacy should belong to all Americans—free of charge.