Belafonte to auction unknown papers of MLK

December 8, 2008 12:42:35 PM PST
An original handwritten outline for Martin Luther King Junior's first speech condemning the Vietnam War is going on the auction block this week.

Sotheby's will offer the previously unknown document Thursday along with two others: the scribbled notes for a speech King planned to deliver in Memphis, Tennessee, three days after he was assassinated, and a letter of condolence from President Lyndon B. Johnson to King's widow.

The documents are owned by singer-actor Harry Belafonte, a friend and host on King's visits to New York beginning in the mid-1950s.

The auction house put the overall pre-sale estimate for the three documents at $750,000 to $1.13 million, with the Vietnam speech valued at $500,000 to $800,000.