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Belafonte Sues Martin Luther King Jr. Estate in NY

NEW YORK (AP) — Harry Belafonte sued the estate of Martin Luther King Jr. Tuesday over the fate of three documents he tried to sell at auction. The lawsuit in federal court in Manhattan seeks unspecified damages and a court declaration Belafonte is the rightful owner. The documents are an outline of a Vietnam War speech by King, notes to a speech King never got to deliver in Memphis, Tenn., and a condolence letter from President Lyndon B. Johnson to King’s wife after the civil rights leader’s 1968 assassination. According to the lawsuit, Belafonte was preparing to auction the items in 2008 when the estate “astonishingly” blocked it. The lawsuit cited the close relationship between Belafonte and King, saying the pair “worked on strategies and collaborated on issues that would transform American society” while they “forged a deep and enduring personal friendship.” It said King and his widow, Coretta Scott King, gave Belafonte a number of items and it noted that Coretta Scott King, who died in 2006, mentioned Belafonte in her autobiography, saying “whenever we got into trouble or when tragedy struck, Harry has always come to our aid, his generous heart wide open.”