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Park Service May Buy King Center

March 1, 1998

ATLANTA (AP) _ The National Park Service is in negotiations to buy the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, which has struggled with financial difficulties.

Coretta Scott King established the center as a memorial to her husband and a way to fight violence, hunger and racism. Both the King family and park service said the talks are in the preliminary stages.

The discussion includes not only a takeover of the center, but other family holdings such as the King residence, occupied by Mrs. King, and two other houses.

King’s crypt, with its reflecting pool, and his birth home, would be donated by the family.

However, King’s papers and speeches in the center’s library and archive would be sold separately to a university or nonprofit organization and relocated, said Phillip Jones, president of Intellectual Properties Management, which manages the King estate.

Several years ago the center trimmed programs and staff because of budget deficits. It is supported by federal grants and private donations.

The Park Service proposes to renovate the King Center’s administrative buildings for exhibits of King memorabilia, including some in the possession of the Park Service and other items that would be acquired as part of the sale.

The Park Service intends to finance the buyout with donations, said Frank Catroppa, superintendent of the King Historic District.

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