Harry Belafonte Sues Martin Luther King Jr. Estate in Dispute Over Speeches

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Harry Belafonte wants to sell the original, penned speeches by Martin Luther King, Jr., and the late civil rights icon's estate is none too thrilled about it.

Belafonte has the notes that were in Dr. King's suit pocket when he was assassinated in Memphis on April 4, 1968, among other items he says MLK gave him.

The 86-year-old Belafonte also has a condolence letter written to King's widow, Coretta Scott King (1927-2006), by then-President Lyndon Johnson.

He also has various MLK speeches, including an outline of the famous "The Casualties of the War in Vietnam" speech delivered by the acclaimed orator.

Belafonte tried to sell the documents at a Sotheby's auction in 2008, but the Estate objected and the auction was nixed. How he is suing to try again.

Apparently having stewed over this for years, the singer-actor-activist has filed court documents asking a judge to confirm that he's the rightful owner. 

Sotheby's is holding all the items until a court decides who owns the priceless pieces of history. As for how Harry ended up in possession of them?

Belafonte and Martin Luther King, who would be 84 if he were alive today, had a long relationship dating back to the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s.

King worked at Belafonte's apartment in New York City for periods of time and the well-heeled Belafonte even provided MLK with financial support.

His connection to the man is undisputed. Whether he has a legal right to sell copies of King's speeches is another story. A judge has yet to rule.