The family of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. has long been criticized for treating King’s legacy as a private cash machine. The family members have been routinely seen in court fighting over money and suing others to give them a cut of any use of his name or likeness. Now, in a positively outrageous act, the King family is demanding $800,000 for the right of a foundation to use King’s image and words for a monument on the National mall. The solution is simple: stop the monument. If any money is paid to the King family, it would be a public outrage.
It takes remarkable temerity and audacity to charge the public for honoring your father. Many have criticized the destruction of the open spaces on the mall by Congress, which is filling it with monuments of every kind. This money grab only adds to the controversy.
The memorial — including a 28-foot sculpture will carve King image out of a chunk of granite and is being paid for with money raised from public donations and is raised by the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation. T
What is particularly outrageous is that the foundation has already paid $761,160 in 2007 to Intellectual Properties Management Inc., an entity run by King’s family. That includes a “management” fee of $71,700 was paid to the family estate in 2003. The fact that the foundation has paid such money to IPM is an utter outrage. Even if it goes to the King Center, it is still pilfering donations and padding a public project.
I have always found the claims of the King family to own the images and words of MLK to be highly questionable.
It appears that donations to the King Center have been falling and the King family is trying to use this monument to make up the difference.
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