Posted: 4:12 pm Thursday, March 6th, 2014

King family wants say-so over MLK monument on state Capitol grounds 

By Jim Galloway

The family of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has served notice to Gov. Nathan Deal that it wants approval rights over any image of the slain civil rights leader erected on state Capitol grounds – if the state expects free use of King’s copyrighted likeness.

On MLK Day in January, before an Ebenezer Baptist Church congregation, Deal promised to work with the Legislature to give King a more prominent place on Capitol grounds. A bill to that effect passed the House on Monday.

That same day, the company that oversees the King estate sent a letter to Chris Riley, the governor’s chief of staff, to remind Deal that the King estate owns all rights to King’s “name, image, likeness, words, rights of publicity, copyrighted works, recorded voice, and trademark interests.”

The letter chides the governor for not getting in touch:

“When the media reported that the Governor referenced this initiative in remarks he made on the King Holiday, we expected to hear from your office and the appropriate parties seeking the Estate’s input and approval. To date, we have not received any formal request for permission to utilize any of Dr. King’s [intellectual property]. Nonetheless, we would be delighted to work with you on determining an appropriate way to honor Dr. King….Your assistance would be greatly appreciated in expediting our review of the proposal to honor Dr. King and thus provide input.”

In other words, the King estate is willing to allow the state of Georgia free use of the MLK likeness, but wants approval rights over the edifice.

This was the same-day, e-mailed response from Riley, the governor’s top aide (I’ve eliminated a typo):

“Mr. Tidwell:

We will continue to monitor the legislation. Please do not assume the governor would ever try to financially capitalize on the legacy of Dr. King. He is simply…trying to honor a great Georgian.”

Which brought a quick reply from Tidwell that includes this:

“The notion of monetizing Dr. King’s image on the part of the Governor never crossed our mind….This has to do with respecting property rights by including the rights holder in the process to determine how Dr. King will be honored….We look forward to working with you and having the opportunity to review the proposed legislation.”

FYI, HB 1080, sponsored by Democratic state Reps. Calvin Smyre of Columbus and Tyrone Brooks of Atlanta, does not offer any specifics of how King would be honored, but sets the process in motion.

See the entire exchange here:

56 comments
jmc1007
jmc1007

Dr. King had his faults, as many public figures do.  Not perfect. Great orator, peaceful protest.  But some aspects I don't like, i.e. plaguarism, womanizer, socialist.  He should be recognized for his peaceful demeanor and leadership.


BUT, to have one holiday name after only one person is a disgrace to him and all those who fought for civil rights.  No other holiday honors just ONE man (excluding Christmas and Columbus Day, which should be renamed Founders Day).


To give King a holiday where only he is recognized AND a prominent statue in front of our legislature overshadowing every other great leader of our state is a insult.  


Give recognition where its due. But weigh it accordingly.


Rhettbutler
Rhettbutler

If you take Watson's statue down and then put King's in it's place you are going to stir up some mighty hard feelings in Georgia. Best to not do it or else.........

UpwardOnward
UpwardOnward

The King family is a joke.  Their father would be ashamed of their greedy, grasping, and fractious behavior.  If they want approval, pull the project.

Bernie31
Bernie31

There is a way for one to get desired results without appearing to be overbearing and Too demanding. However The King Children never learned the Art of this skill. Their Crediability was Lost the minute ALL learned the King Center was being mismanaged and the day they Hawked their individual books during a King Holiday Celebration. Pretty Tacky outcome no one ever expected to see...

Wascatlady
Wascatlady

Let the family buy property and build whatever they want to.  Or maybe they can get some of their friends to do it for them.  They have wrung the pity handkerchief a few hundred too many times.

Mustang100
Mustang100

Maybe they just want to be sure the statue isn't one of Big Daddy with a bottle of Rose in one hand and his arm around a cheap hooker, per R. D. Abernathy Sr.

Mustang100
Mustang100

Of course they do!

Hey Bernie31! Where ya been?

Starik
Starik

Let's do Hosea Williams instead.

TFlash
TFlash

Maybe they want to put a quarter slot on it. Pay for view statue. That is a shameful bunch. Money, money, money. I'm sure he would really be proud of how they have prostituted out his image and everything else about him that they could to make more money and live the high life.


PSWallace
PSWallace

I would just build a monument to "The Civil Rights Protester" or "The Citizen" or other such, tell the world it would have been King but there was a shakedown attempt, and call it a day.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

Go ahead and pay the King boys a monthly commission and they will be happy

SaveAmericaFromItself
SaveAmericaFromItself

Only ELECTED officials significant to Georgia's history should be honored on state house grounds.


Aren't there other Georgians deserving of a monument? How many reminders of MLK  are needed ?

Milton1960
Milton1960

The Kings do not know or understand Nathan Deal.  He is a reasonabke person, but will not roll over to veiled threats or, ahem, be blackmailed by anyone.  If the Kings want a monument on the Statehouse grounds or anywhere else on State property, they had better back off and shut up.

ThisKevin
ThisKevin

Not one dime, Governor Deal.


Not one dime.

HRPuff
HRPuff

Here's an idea, Gov.


JUST SAY NO.

HRPuff
HRPuff

Hey, here's an idea, Gov. 


JUST SAY NO.

AvailableName
AvailableName

I'd suggest something on the lines of the Vietnam memorial, the Washington monument, anything the money grubbing, untalented kids can't demand to be involved in.  No likeness, we all know what he looked like, just a reminder of what he stood for and that his kids don't understand.

Domina8r
Domina8r

These kids are nothing more than members of the lucky sperm club.

Bill66
Bill66

Let me get this straight.  The taxpayers are footing the bill for this thing but "the estate" wants a say so regarding the statue to be created and erected?  You have got to be kidding me!!

PappyHappy
PappyHappy

Dr. King would have disowned these brats by this time.  No wonder folks do not want to be around them -- much less, do business with them.  Shame on them all!  They have their gubby little hands out to be greased!  


Where are some elder Black leaders to take these kids behind a barn and give them what their Father never had the chance of doing.  


These King kids are proof positive of the NEED FOR A FATHER IN THE HOUSE! 

electric1234
electric1234

Such a sad situation with the King children acting like total morons!

MrFish
MrFish

I think it is time for Georgia to tell the king family to go to Hades.

MLK was a great man. his family, a laughing band of clowns

Bernie31
Bernie31

Well That Took some Guts......

GwinnettDad
GwinnettDad

This is sponsored by DEMOCRATIC state Reps. Calvin Smyre of Columbus and Tyrone Brooks of Atlanta. There are some ignorant comments below that think that this is a Republican idea. 

Jahenn
Jahenn

I would build a statue of John Lewis or Andrew Young. They are humble and equally suffered in the Civil Rights struggle. Leave the King family and their extortion alone

coolray
coolray

This is one of the saddest and most sorry families in America. Other children have tried to exploit their dead parents but their parents where not iconic figures beloved almost universally. 


I find them highly offensive. I almost wish we could pay them enough to move to Russia and renounce their US citizenship.







NWGAL
NWGAL

How sad that their entire lives still revolve around their father and not their own accomplishments.

RobertnAtlanta
RobertnAtlanta

"I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."  EXCERPT - from "I Have a Dream" Speech - Copyright 1963 - MLK,Jr

I declare you JUDGED!

Tcope
Tcope

What a joke the King family has become. They all need to get a job and stop whining.

GwinnettDad
GwinnettDad

The avarice of the King children have been a disgrace to the memory of their father.  Their petty bickering, their demands for cash for use of his name, their public fights regarding their greed, are contrary to everything their father represented.  Maybe forgiveness can be provided since MLK's children prematurely lost their father.  Otherwise, he must be up in heaven shaking his head never believing that his children would sue each other, and sue anybody else that might quote his words without their permission.

OriginalProf
OriginalProf

I wonder if Bernice King approved this letter?

JaySly
JaySly

the government need to pay the king family a lot of money if they build this monument--they want their share or they will not let it be built

tombea75
tombea75

If dealing with the King "family" is a requirement to erect the statue, then I'd say just forget it!

ishmael
ishmael

Surely all of the images of Dr. King that exist in the public domain are NOT the sole purview of the estate?!  


Otherwise, there are some deep pockets the Kings' spawn are overlooking.

shameful
shameful

With the reputation of the King family and their difference toward each other, this will quite possibly turn into haggling and arguments between the family members. One of them is even possibly going to want some remuneration for "allowing" their father's image to be erected on the public grounds of the State Capital.


Mr. King was a wonderful individual for human rights. Too bad the family can't get enough money and recognition from his efforts.

CanBee
CanBee

Just like the Jesse and Al show, the MLK Family are "shake-down artist" and the liberal pandering AJC chooses to downplay the "Legal Notice - Warning" in the headline of this article calling it "a say-so" in placing a statue @ the Capitol!!!!!

Headlines should say what is really is "KING FAMILY has put State of Georgia on legal notice" regarding MLK statues!!!

Boxtradamus
Boxtradamus

Isn't there already a statue to this man in Washington DC? A federal holiday, 1000's and 1000's of roads, bridges, and schools named after him? Good Lord how much honoring does he need? He was not Jesus Christ. How much more honoring does he need?


The real questions is, how many votes do the GOP think this will get them? Answer is none.


Sounds like the Kings don't really care anyway.


uh....huh!

PappyHappy
PappyHappy

@Jahenn I vote for Andrew Young.  HE ACCOMPLISHED SOMETHING.  

Let the King kids live with the fact that their lives and actions have left a bitter taste in the mouths of many regarding the King name!  How terribly sad!

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

I have a dream that one day my little boys will be grown up and will be selling my casket to the highest bidder

ishmael
ishmael

@BravesFan456  


What's the threshold between political pandering and simply giving props to history? 

Kamchak
Kamchak

He was not Jesus Christ.


Can you provide evidence where anyone here suggested that he was?

And please, show your work.

Thanks in advance, sport.

Bernie31
Bernie31

@Boxtradamus You are an AVATAR THIEF..YOU SMELL!

uh...huh


SO I am your Hero...uh...huh

Kamchak
Kamchak

...obamaphone that all of you democraps have.


"[A]ll"?

Got proof?

GwinnettDad
GwinnettDad

@BravesFan456 @tombea75 @CanBee  MLK is either a public figure or he's not.  I don't have to pay anybody to quote George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Billy Graham, or any other public figure?  Why pay for the words of Martin Luther King?  The King family greed is beyond disgusting.

Trackbacks

  1. […] be distracted by what you read this morning in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and other media,” he said. “We want to honor Dr. […]

  2. […] Representative Tyrone Brooks took to the House well this morning to address a letter sent by the King Family to the governor, asserting their right to approve any statue to honor the late Martin Luther King.  The matter was covered here by Jim Galloway. […]