Build The Dream

June 27, 2008

Georgia Is Now The Granite State

Yes, "The Granite State" is the official nickname of New Hampshire, not Georgia. But given that a Georgia firm has been selected to help manage sources of domestic Granite for the King memorial - and some of the Granite may end up coming from Georgia ... at least for the time being, Georgia is our Granite State.

From an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Builders of a $100 million memorial to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. have picked a Georgia-based granite firm to help line up sources of domestic stone for the monument.

Southeastern Granite Co.'s selection as a broker makes good on earlier promises to use domestic stone for a major chunk of the project, though key elements will still use imported. It also boosts the chances some will come from Georgia, officials said.

June 23, 2008

US Commission Of Fine Arts Approves Design

As reported in The Washington Post:

Members of a powerful federal arts commission expressed satisfaction yesterday with changes to a memorial statue of Martin Luther King Jr. after the architect smoothed away wrinkles in King's brow and reshaped the mouth to impart a hint of a smile.

June 19, 2008

Good News From Atlanta

Given the lede, the Atlanta Journal Constitution seems more interested in controversy, than progress, when it comes to the memorial. But the good news is impossible for them to hide.

After a fund-raising event Thursday in Atlanta, builders § will leave the city with only $5.2 million left to raise for the $100 million project.

The Martin Luther King Jr. National Project Foundation expects to collect $1.8 million in gifts from Nationwide Insurance, Delta Air Lines and CVS Caremark and from individual donors during a reception and fund-raising dinner at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

That will bring the money raised to date to $94.8 million, including nearly $5 million in corporate and individual donations out of Georgia. About 4,000 individuals across the state, primarily in metro Atlanta, have contributed $1.9 million of the total.

May 14, 2008

Testimony: Public Favors the Current Design

Washington Post Metro columnist, Courtland Milloy, published an article this morning stating that "From Many Points of View, [the] Statue Is True to King's Image."  Milloy approached a variety of people on the street visiting Washington, D.C. as well as employees of the National Park Service who will be responsible for the upkeep of the Memorial once it has been completed. He found that a majority supported the current depiction of Dr. King.

I took a photograph of the proposed Martin Luther King Jr. memorial statue to the Tidal Basin yesterday and asked tourists and other passersby what they thought about it..

"Very impressive," said Robin Bartley, 54, a math and language arts teacher at Van Cleve Elementary School in Troy, Ohio. "The statue shows King projecting courage the way he did during a terrible time in our country's history."

Conner Super, a sixth-grader at Van Cleve, looked over the photograph and nodded his approval. "He looks determined," the 12-year-old said. "That's the kind of man he was."

Although some of those I interviewed shared the commission's views, the vast majority did not. And none of the African Americans I spoke with agreed with its findings.

"It's like Barack Obama. The more it looks like he could really become president, the more you hear about people suddenly not being ready for a black president," said Alex Williamson, a retired dentist visiting from Austin. "Now that it looks like we might get a statue of a black man on the mall, people are starting to say, 'Now just hold on one darn minute here.' "

Among the changes that the commission wants to see is a softening of King's image from "confrontational in character" to "a more sympathetic idea of the figure."

Anthony McCoy, a National Park Service employee, took a break from tending a flower bed on the Jefferson Memorial grounds and looked at the photograph.

"I don't see anything wrong with it," said McCoy, 50, of Southeast Washington. "Let's be clear: If you think there is something wrong with a statue that makes Martin Luther King come off as confrontational, then there is something wrong with you. King was confrontational. If he wasn't, he'd probably still be alive."

March 05, 2008

MetLife Raises Cash for MLK Memorial

The MetLife Foundation has pledged $2 million to the planned Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C. "I am proud that MetLife has joined our family of supporters which includes corporations, foundations, and citizens worldwide," said Harry E. Johnson Sr., president and CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation Inc. "Now is the time to make history - now is the time for others to follow the lead of MetLife Foundation and to make a contribution of any amount to this lasting memorial to Dr. King and the ideals of hope, democracy, justice, and love for which he stood."

The donation from MetLife Foundation brings the Memorial Foundation's total to $93 million. Other donors include General Motors, Tommy Hilfiger Corporate Foundation, NBA/WNBA, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Walt Disney Co. Foundation, Coca-Cola Foundation, The Ford Motor Fund, Toyota, AARP, AFLAC, BP America, Inc., CIGNA, DuPont, ExxonMobil Foundation, Fannie Mae Corporation, FedEx Corp., GE, Ann and Joel Horowitz Family Foundation, Sheila C. Johnson-Newman, Lehman Brothers, George Lucas, MacFarlane Partners, The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, McDonald's Corp., National Association of Realtors, National Education Association, PepsiCo Foundation, The Pew Charitable Trusts, Pfizer Foundation, Prudential Financial, Inc., Shell Oil Co., State Farm Insurance, Verizon, Verizon Foundation, Viacom, Wal-Mart and Morehouse College.

The $100 million monument is being built on a four-acre site near the Lincoln Memorial, where King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963. The memorial is slated to open in 2009 as the first monument to an African-American on the National Mall.

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 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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