The family of Martin Luther King Jr. is asking charging to build a DC memorial in his honor.
According to the Associated Press, they want the Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation to shell out $800,000 for the use of MLK’s words and his likeness.
The project includes a 28 foot sculpture of Martin, and its being funded by privately donated money.
“I don’t think the Jefferson family, the Lincoln family … I don’t think any other group of family ancestors has been paid a licensing fee for a memorial in Washington,” said historian David Garrow, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his biography on Martin. “One would think any family would be so thrilled to have their forefather celebrated and memorialized in D.C. that it would never dawn on them to ask for a penny.”
The foundation has been paying fees to the King family, but those charges are not tied to using his image and words in the monument itself. The Associated Press reports that the organization paid just over $71,000 to the family estate in 2003. In 2007, they shelled out more than $760,000 to Intellectual Properties Management Inc, which is run by Martin’s family.
According to David, Martin would have been “absolutely scandalized by the profiteering behavior of his children."
However, Intellectual Properties said that money it collects goes to King Center in Atlanta. The company explained that the new charges are being requested so that donations to the monument don’t effect the King Center.
Once the monument is complete, it will be handed over to the National Park Service.
— Sonya Eskridge
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