$1 Million Raised By Delta Employees, Customers For MLK Memorial


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$1 Million Raised By Delta Employees, Customers For MLK Memorial

By Steve Hall

May 10, 2010 - Delta Air Lines announced that its employees and customers have raised $1 million for the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial in Washington, D.C. The achievement stems from a fundraising challenge from Delta's Chief Executive Officer Richard Anderson in January 2008.

"Reaching our goal of one million dollars is a true testament of what can be accomplished when our employees and customers work together to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy," Anderson said. "It is so appropriate and correct that we also honor the values of this great man."

Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist and prominent leader in the African American civil rights movement. His main legacy was to secure progress on civil rights in the United States, and he has become a human rights icon: King is recognized as a martyr by two Christian churches.


A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career.  He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first president. King's efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech. There, he raised public consciousness of the civil rights movement and established himself as one of the greatest orators in U.S. history.

In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means. By the time of his death in 1968, he had refocused his efforts on ending poverty and the Vietnam War, both from a religious perspective. King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medal in 2004; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a U.S. national holiday in 1986.

Several civil rights icons helped mark the occasion, including the Rev. Joseph Lowery, Ambassador Andrew Young and U.S. Rep. John Lewis.  All of the men marched with Dr. King during the 1960s.  Other dignitaries on hand included Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Dr. King's daughter, Bernice King.


When completed, the $120 million memorial will mark the first monument to an African American on the National Mall. With Delta's donation, more than $107 million dollars has been raised.  The monument is being constructed on a four-acre site near the Lincoln Memorial, where Dr. King delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963, and is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2011.

Selected quotations from Dr. King's writing, sermons and speeches will be permanently engraved into the memorial walls. Most of the donations were collected by Delta's Force for Global Good, an effort that comprises Delta employees, customers and community partners to promote positive change for improving the standards of living and the environment where Delta employees and customers live and work.

"The memorial is all about the human spirit and a dream by a man that forever changed this country," said Ambassador Young.  "We are so grateful for the generosity of Delta and its customers."

Delta Air Lines serves more than 160 million customers each year. With its unsurpassed global network, Delta and the Delta Connection carriers offer service to 358 destinations in 66 countries on six continents. Delta employs more than 70,000 employees worldwide and operates a mainline fleet of nearly 800 aircraft.

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