The announcement, which did not include a price tag, was made by the Kings’ nephew, Isaac Newton Farris, who has been named president and chief executive officer. He replaces Martin Luther King III, who remains on the board. Martin King said he will spend more time taking care of his mother, who suffered a major stroke in August.
The changes, however, signal that Chairman Dexter Scott King is now firmly in control of the King Center after a power struggle with his older brother. The struggle was over the future of the center, which is one of the city’s most visited sites.
“The conflict really was over the sale of the center, and that part has been resolved,” said former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, who serves on the King Center board. Young said he favors selling the center because it is “a valuable community asset that needs to be protected and preserved, and the best vehicle for preserving it is the federal government. Coretta understood that one day the center would be turned over to the Park Service.”
This morning I heard Denny Schaffer on WGST claim the King Center only brought in $3 million last year compared to $41 million brought in by Graceland. I suppose that figure refers to ticket and merchandise sales, but I’m not sure about that.
Perhaps the Park Service could do a better job than the King family, but why not turn over management of the Center to a private group with experience running such a facility? If the AJC is correct and the King Center is one of Atlanta’s most visited sites, surely enough money could be generated to make it financially viable.
I suppose the feud between Dexter and Martin III makes selling to the Feds the only option.