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Viacom backs MLK memorial

Company will also sponsor musical tribute

Viacom has pledged $1 million in cash and more than $500,000 in media value to support the construction of a memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Viacom’s donation brings the Memorial Foundation’s total to $82 million of the $100 million needed to build the tribute to the slain civil rights leader.

The memorial on the National Mall is skedded to be completed in 2009.

“Viacom has been working with the Memorial Foundation for over a year to develop a project that would be perfectly paired with the assets and expertise of our company,” said Philippe Dauman, Viacom prexy and CEO. Viacom’s cable nets, including MTV, VH1, Comedy Central and BET have pledged to tubthump on-air to raise national awareness of the monument building project.

Viacom also will be the title sponsor of the Dream Concert, a musical tribute to King, set for Sept. 18 at Radio City Music Hall. It will feature Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Carlos Santana, Garth Brooks, Queen Latifah, Joss Stone, Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds, Robin Thicke, John Legend, Ryan Shaw and Miri Ben-Ari. Event is co-chaired by Tommy Hilfiger and Russell Simmons.

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