Surprise Donation – Plus Extortion

iStock_000005157137LargeHere’s a story for you, Grandma. 2 phone calls produced $35,000, despite a possible insult!

Sometimes a major gift walks in under its own power. This one dragged another large gift behind it.

This is what happened: a strong station earned spontaneous support. The donor, an images (2)internationally acclaimed singer, was also called America’s handsomest show business idol. He made the gift – then extorted another gift from his best pal. 

images (5)The pal, equally well-known, famously upended a racial slur by saying “They call me MISTER Tibbs! ”  (If you missed the film “In The Heat Of The Night”…download it tonight. Then thank me.)

Elder statesmen now, there was a time when one sold out hundreds of concerts in stadiums throughout the world. A time when the other starred in dozens of  plays and films – and won every honor, including an Academy Award.images (9)

And a time when these best friends helped strategize and finance civil rights campaigns – when both walked at the side of Martin Luther King during the long march we now call the Civil Rights Era.

(Comment by Burke – the talking head in this 2-minute video. Carole N., station manager at the time, told me about this incident about 20 years ago. As I think about it, I worry that I might have inflated the amount of the gifts over the years. Nevertheless, $25,000 plus $10,000 is the way I remember the story – and thh way I told it here.)


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