- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - On the same day Nobel Peace Prizes were handed out in Norway, events were held in Atlanta to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the bestowing of the honor upon the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change on Wednesday held a panel discussion featuring descendants of four Nobel Peace laureates, including King’s daughter, the Rev. Bernice King. The discussion was part of a celebration of King’s 1964 Nobel Peace Prize orchestrated by the King Center.

The other panelists were: Jason Carter, grandson of 2002 laureate and former President Jimmy Carter; James Sirleaf, son of 2011 laureate and Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf; and Monica Yunus, daughter of 2006 laureate and Bangladeshi banker Mohammad Yunus.

The peace prize was extremely meaningful to King in part because it helped support him as others in the civil rights movement questioned his insistence on nonviolence, Bernice King said.

“I think it probably cemented for him a validation from the universe, and even God himself, that nonviolence and you, Dr. King, are one and synonymous,” she said.

Sirleaf and Yunus both said their mother and father, respectively, were students in the U.S. in the 1960s and were profoundly affected by King’s message and the civil rights movement and carried that back to their own countries. Carter said his grandfather said the civil rights movement was essential to his own election.

“I don’t think that there was a more impactful peace prize ever given than the one that was given in 1964,” Carter said. “The impact that that 1964 Nobel Peace Prize had on the history of the world is, I think, one of the greatest testaments to the peace prize.”

An exhibition devoted to the awarding of the prize to King also opened Wednesday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Historical Site.

King’s Nobel Peace Prize medal and King’s traveling Bible are currently at the center of an ownership dispute between Bernice King and her brothers, Martin Luther King III and Dexter King. The brothers want to sell the items, saying their father’s estate needs the money, but Bernice King opposes any sale.

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