Trusts & Estates

Federal Judge Nixes Suit by Estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Over News Anchor's Historic Documents

A federal judge in Mississippi has dismissed a lawsuit brought against a television news anchor by the estate of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. over documents in his possession.

The estate says Howard Ballou has no right to the documents, which he got from his mother, Maude. She worked as King’s secretary from 1955 to 1960, the Associated Press reports.

Granting Ballou’s motion for summary judgment, U.S. District Judge Tom Lee said there was no evidence to contradict Maude Ballou’s testimony that King gave the documents to her. They include King’s statement the day after a landmark U.S. Supreme Court segregation ruling and a handwritten letter from civil rights icon Rosa Parks to Ballou’s mother.

King’s estate can appeal the ruling in the Jackson case.

Related coverage: “Martin Luther King Jr.‘s Dream Is Not Yet a Reality”

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