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January 2008

January 31, 2008

W. K. Kellogg Foundation Announces $3 Million Donation

As the nation prepares to observe Black History Month, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) announced today a $3 million donation to the Washington, DC, Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.  The WKKF gift signifies the largest private foundation contribution for the four-acre Memorial which will be built on the National Mall.

Martin Luther King, III,  Harry E. Johnson, Sr., President and CEO of the Memorial Foundation, and Sterling Speirn, President of the WKKF, announced the donation in an audio call with reporters. 

“The Kellogg Foundation is making history today with its generous donation towards building a lasting Memorial to Dr. King and the ideals of hope, democracy, justice, and love for which he stood,” said Johnson. “Now is the time for all citizens, corporations, and foundations to make history by visiting and make a contribution of any amount to the Memorial.”

“The W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s gift to the memorial is a tangible expression of WKKF’s belief that the memorial can have a profound impact on society over time, serving as a reminder of the need for racial equity,” said Speirn.

The WKKF’s gift reflects WKKF’s newly emphasized focus on working with the philanthropic community to change the futures of vulnerable children and vulnerable families.  WKKF seeks to dismantle structural racism, and heal and reconcile the racial attitudes, beliefs, and misunderstandings that constrain the lives and futures of the 30 million children growing up in families who cannot make ends meet.   With children of color being disproportionately represented in this group, this gift seeks to honor and strengthen Dr. King’s vision.

The donation from the WKKF lifts the fundraising total to $90 million of the $100 million needed.  Major donors include: General Motors, Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation, NBA/WNBA, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., The Walt Disney Company Foundation, Coca-Cola Foundation, The Ford Motor Fund, Toyota, AARP, AFLAC, BP America, Inc., CIGNA, DuPont, ExxonMobil Foundation, Fannie Mae Corporation, FedEx Corporation, GE, Horowitz Family Foundation, Sheila C Johnson, Lehman Brothers, George Lucas, MacFarlane Partners, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, McDonald’s Corporation, National Association of Realtors, National Education Association (NEA), PepsiCo Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Prudential Financial, Inc., Shell Oil Company, State Farm Insurance, Verizon, Verizon Foundation, Viacom, Wal-Mart and Morehouse College, among others.

Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.

A Memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr will be built on the National Mall, situated adjacent to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and in a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials.  Congress passed Joint Resolutions in 1996 authorizing Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. to establish a Memorial honoring Dr. King to be built in Washington, DC.  The Ceremonial Groundbreaking took place on November 13, 2006 and the Memorial is scheduled to be completed in 2009.  McKissack & McKissack / Turner Construction Company/ Gilford Corporation / Tompkins Builders, Inc.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation was established in 1930 by breakfast cereal pioneer W.K. Kellogg to “help people help themselves.” Specifically, the organization supports children, families and communities as they strengthen and create conditions that propel vulnerable children to achieve success as individuals and as contributors to the larger community and society. Grants are concentrated in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean, and the southern African countries of Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.  For more information, visit the Foundation’s Web site at

January 30, 2008

Black Bloggers

While black bloggers currently comprise approximately 1% of the blogging community, or blogosphere, a recent study found that they are an active and growing force when it comes to the Internet and political discussion. Antoinette Pole of Brown University conducted the study.

A summary of the results can be found here. The full study, which was published in the International Journal of Technology, Knowledge and Society, is available through this link - $8.25 via academic journal.

“Though they are less numerous, examining the role of minorities in the blogosphere is important if blogs are being used to engage in political discourse and discussion, and more importantly, political action that has real-world implications,” Pole said. “Who has influence in the blogosphere and how bloggers are using this new medium to undertake political action merits study.”

Based on in-depth interviews with 20 black bloggers conducted in November 2005, Pole’s study found that 85 percent of respondents use their blogs to engage in political advocacy and to raise money for charitable causes. A majority of the bloggers said they encouraged their readers to vote or to register to vote; 40 percent of the bloggers asked their readers to contact elected officials; 35 percent suggested that their readers sign a petition or attend a rally, protest, or march. Several of the bloggers mentioned using their blogs to endorse candidates for office. Compared to other research examining blogging and political participation, black bloggers appear to be engaged in these online advocacy efforts and philanthropic endeavors to a greater degree than their white counterparts, according to the paper.

Why is this is so?  With racial discrimination and racism still in existence today, both in reality and virtual reality, why does the blogosphere permit greater diversity and free-flow of ideas from sources not represented by the majority?

January 29, 2008

How Far Can The Dream Take You?

How far can the dream take you? How powerful can it be? Pretty far and pretty powerful, it would seem.

Speaking at a recent Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. observance, Dr. Bernard A. Harris, Jr. spoke of how watching Dr. King as a boy empowered him to realize his own personal dream and become the first black person to walk in space back in 1995.

"I grew up during the civil rights movement," he said. "(King) allowed me to grow up with the notion that not only can you take dreams and make them real, but I also realized I wanted to have a dream of my own."

Harris said the first step in achieving your dreams is finding out what they are. He described to the audience how he realized what one of his dreams would be at age 13.

"I watched Neil (Armstrong) and Buzz (Aldrin) walk on the moon, and it was a victory for a little colored boy, an African-American boy, a Negro boy," he said. "I knew right then that I was going to be an astronaut."

"Even though it's been years since the life of Martin Luther King, his dream lives on," he said. "It shows you the power of a dream. He opened up minds to opportunities, and guess what, I'm living that opportunity. The opportunity has become a reality."

Harris made his spacewalk Feb. 9, 1995.

January 25, 2008

King Shirts Prohibited At Workplace On National Holiday

It seems administrators at Florida's Broward Medical Center developed an issue around employees showing support for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the national holiday designated for just that purpose. Reports suggest there were never issues in the past and employees are permitted to acknowledge other Holidays similarly without complaint. Full story here.

The facility is part of Broward Health - website here. Contact information here.

DEERFIELD BEACH – While the rest of South Florida celebrated the birth and life of Martin Luther King Jr. on Monday, some employees of North Broward Medical Center say they were not allowed to show their appreciation for the slain civil rights leader.

Employees in the nutritional services department at the Deerfield Beach hospital have worn shirts and colors to commemorate several special days throughout the years, including Christmas and Halloween, they say. Wearing MLK shirts on MLK Day has been part of that tradition for at least seven years, they say.

But when workers showed up on Monday in their MLK T-shirts, they said, they were told to either take them off, cover them up, or go home. The action has created a stir among the workers.

Hospital officials said the T-shirts do not conform with the hospital’s uniform policy, and that the hospital posted a memo late last year advising employees of this fact.

“In all the years I have worked here, we have worn MLK shirts on MLK Day, the same as we wear red and white on Valentine’s Day and the same as we dress up for Halloween,” said Linda Horne, a seven-year veteran at the hospital.

Horne said she decided to leave work Monday when a supervisor told her to either cover up her shirt or go home for the day.

January 24, 2008

Dr. King's Legacy Still Resonates Throughout The Land

Days after the celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday, if one checks Google News, you'll find almost 37,000 timely news items celebrating the legacy of Dr. King.

From Georgia comes the story of women like Leila Walker and Dorothy Young, women who lived their lives and often sacrificed incredibly to help to realize a dream:

Women like Leila Walker of Sylvester became leaders in their rural communities during efforts to integrate Worth County schools and register blacks to vote, Sherrod said.

Dorothy Young, the eldest child of the first black family to try to gain access to white Worth County schools, was jailed for a year in various locations. Sherrod, her husband Charles, Walker and others "marched at the Worth County Courthouse many times trying to get them to free Dorothy," Sherrod said.

Once reunited, the family found itself alienated and eventually moved out of the county.

"One of the things that happen to you when you stand up and take a stand is you sort of get blackballed in terms of jobs. Life is made difficult for you ... and sometimes in order to live, you can't stay where you are," Sherrod said.

Dorothy Young died in her 40s; "I feel like that affected her life forever," Sherrod said.

Walker, who died a few years ago, was a founding member of Worth's NAACP branch and organized the community's Martin Luther King Jr. celebration for many years. She was recognized Monday by the City of Sylvester with a proclamation.

In Arlington, Massachusetts, voices both young and old came together to honor The Dream in song:

Arlington, Mass. - On Monday night, from the walls of Arlington’s Town Hall auditorium, voices of parents, teachers, students, town officials, and members of the MLK Jr. Birthday Observance Committee could be heard singing as one. They came together to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. — to carry on his achievements.

There's the story of Black artist, John W. Hill from Winchester, Virginia, and Art Students in Akron, Ohio commemorating Dr. King.

One can click any, or several of the available links to affirm that Dr. King's significant influence, and perhaps more importantly, his Dream, is very much alive today throughout the culture - and across the land.

January 18, 2008


Welcome to our Build The Dream blog. The blog site for Build The We'll be blogging on our on going efforts to "Build The Dream," as well as news and events related to those efforts - and, of course, to Dr. King. We're a work in progress, just as is the monument to a truly great man. So please check back. And remember to visit Build The Dream.

Here is some background information for you.

On September 28, 1996 the U.S. House of Representatives passed Joint Resolution 70 authorizing Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. to establish a memorial in Washington, DC to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Senate followed by passing Joint Resolution 426 on October 3, 1996, and on July 16, 1998, President Clinton signed a Joint Congressional Resolution authorizing the building of a memorial.

Situated on a four-acre site along the Tidal Basin, the Washington, DC Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial will be adjacent to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial and on a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials.

In December 1999, the Foundation formed a panel of international architects and designers to develop and coordinate the program of requirements for the Memorial. The design competition attracted more than 1,900 registrants from 52 countries. More than 900 submissions were received from architects, landscape architects, students, sculptors, and professors. In September 2000, the winning design of the ROMA Group of San Francisco was selected. The partnership of Devrouax & Purnell/ROMA Design Group Joint Venture was named Architect of Record in February, 2004.

The Memorial will evoke the memory and spiritual presence of Dr. King. It will honor not only a great man, but the values that empowered his leadership, including courage and truth, unconditional love and forgiveness, justice and equality, reconciliation and peace.

The groundbreaking is contingent upon the Foundation’s “Build the Dream” campaign raising the estimated $100 million required to build the Memorial.

The Foundation is chaired by Global Group Vice President, General Motors Corporation Gary Cowger and former U.N. Ambassador, Andrew Young, and in memory of Coretta Scott King. The Executive Leadership Cabinet (ELC) is comprised of the following members: David Bell, Chairman and CEO, The Interpublic Group of Companies; Phillipe P. Dauman, President and CEO, VIACOM; Suzanne de Passe, Chairperson and CEO, de Passe Entertainment; George Foreman, CEO, Foreman Inc.; William H. Gray, III, Retired President and CEO, The College Fund/United Negro College Fund; H. Edward Hanway, Chairman and CEO, CIGNA Corporation; Honorable Alexis M. Herman, 23rd U.S. Labor Secretary & Chair and CEO New Ventures, Inc.; Thomas J. Hilfiger, Principal Designer, Tommy Hilfiger USA, Inc.; Joel Horowitz, Co-Founder, Tommy Hilfiger Corporation; Sheila C. Johnson-Newman, President, Managing Partner & Governor, Washington, Mystics; Vernon Jordan, Esq., Senior Managing Director, Lazard Freres & Company, LLC; Honorable Jack Kemp, Founder and Chairman, Kemp Partners; Victor MacFarlane, Senior Principal, MacFarlane Partners; J.W. Marriott, Jr., Chairman and CEO, Marriott International, Inc.; Emilio Pardo, Chief Brand Officer, AARP; William F. Pickard, Chairman, Vitec, LLC; General Colin L. Powell, USA (Retired); Franklin D. Raines, Chairman and CEO (Retired), Fannie Mae; Henry Schleiff, President and CEO, The Hallmark Channel; Ivan G. Seidenberg, Chairman and CEO, VERIZON Communications; Russell Simmons, Chairman and CEO, Rush Communications; David Stern, NBA Commissioner; Dale A. Stinton, Executive Vice President and CEO, National Association of Realtors; in memory of Jack Valenti, former Chairman and CEO, Motion Picture Association; Honorable J.C. Watts, Chairman, J.C. Watts Companies; and Dr. Robert L. Wright, Chairman Emeritus & Senior Advisor, Dimensions International, Inc.

Roderick Gillum is the Chairman of the Board and Darryl R. Matthews is the Vice Chairman. Board members include: David Drummond, Vice President, Corporate Development & General Counsel, Google, Inc.; Arthur Fleming, First Vice President and Director, Community Investment Services, Federal Home Loan Bank Atlanta,
Atlanta, GA; Steven R. Gursky, Partner, Dreier LLP; Mari Snyder, Communications Director, Community Relations & Corporate Projects, Marriott International, Inc.; Willard C. Hall, Jr., Executive Director, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.; Frank Jenkins, CEO, Jenkins & Associates, Inc.; Honorable Jack Kemp, Founder & Chairman, Kemp Partners; Honorable Patrick J. Kennedy, U.S. Congressman; Tyrone Means, Attorney at Law, Thomas, Means, Gillis, Devlin, Robinson & Seay, P.C.; Reverend Joe Ratliff, Pastor, Brentwood Baptist Church; George N. Reaves, Vice President, JP Morgan Institutional Trust Services; Frank Russell, Jr., Retired Executive, AXA; Mari Snyder, Communications Director Community Relations and Corporate Projects, Marriott International, Inc., Washington, DC; Caryl M. Stern, Chief Operating Officer, US Fund for UNICEF; Guy Vickers, President, Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation, Inc.; Robert Wingo, President & CEO, Sanders/Wingo Advertising and Chris C. Womack, Senior Vice President, Southern Company Generation.

President George H. W. Bush; President Jimmy Carter; President Bill Clinton; Nancy Reagan (representing President Ronald Reagan); and in memory of Lady Bird Johnson (representing President Lyndon B. Johnson).

The Congressional Committee, which is still in formation, currently consists of 250 Members of Congress. To review the list, visit

Laila Ali, Muhammad Ali, Dr. Maya Angelou, Clarence Avant, AngelaBassett, Richard Brooks, Chris Brown, Roger Aaron Brown, Tommy Davidson, Suzzanne Douglas, Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds, Tracey Edmonds, Laurence Fishburne, Antwone Fisher, Harrison Ford, George Foreman, Vivica A. Fox, Morgan Freeman, Whoopi Goldberg, Dennis Haysbert, Dule Hill, Dustin Hoffman, Ernie Hudson, Samuel L. Jackson, Anne Marie Johnson, Patti La Belle, Walt “Baby” Love-Shaw, Peter Max, Holly Robinson Peete and Rodney Peete, Joseph C. Phillips, Paul Pierce, James Reynolds, Lionel Ritchie, Al Roker, Victoria Rowell, Deborah and Carlos Santana, Oz Scott, Martin Sheen, Elisabeth Shue, Andrew Shue, Tavis Smiley, Jerry Stackhouse, Sean Patrick Thomas, Lorraine Touissant, Dr. Debbye Turner, Dionne Warwick, Chris Webber and Brad Whitford.

All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. The Foundation is a 501[c] (3) organization.

Your support brings us one step closer to building this Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. Help us honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his vision for America. Help us “Build the Dream.”

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National Memorial Project Foundation, Inc.
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