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Big Corporations Among Major Donors to MLK Memorial

Photo: Amy Ta/NPR

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, which will have its official dedication this Sunday, August 28, had financial help from some major corporations. The Root has pulled together a list of some of the major donors, which includes GM ($10 million), Tommy Hilfiger ($6 million), and the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity ($3.5 million, Dr. King was a member). The memorial cost $120 million to make; $114 million of that was raised.

The article notes the lack of African-Americans on the list of big donors, including Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey, who attended the groundbreaking for the memorial, and Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, who will both be appearing in the Broadway show “The Mountaintop,” which is set the night before Dr. King’s assassination. Samuel L. Jackson will play Dr. King.

Susan Batten, president and CEO of the Association of Black Foundation Executives, tells The Root that African-Americans tend to give to religious and educational groups and causes.

“…[C]orporations understand the business case of giving to causes that involve the diverse, emerging demographics of this country. It’s an issue of brand and marketing for them,” Batten said.

Separately, The Root has published a story about the long history of the memorial, which was first proposed back in 1984. You can read more about that here. CNN announced today that it will air special coverage of Sunday’s dedication starting at 6 a.m.

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