UPDATE: State OKs New Lease For Rights Museum Foundation

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- A private foundation can continue running the museum on the site of Martin Luther King Jr.'s murder but must put more black members to its board of directors and open its management to wider public inspection.

That's the word from the State Building Commission, which approved a 15-year lease on the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, with a possible option for a 15-year extension.

The approval followed complaints by museum critics that the foundation's board has too few black members and too many with close ties to big business.

The lease includes a "memorandum of understanding" under which the foundation's board promised to meet with critics and other private citizens to discuss museum operations and programs.

The agreement also directs the museum's 32-member board to adjust its membership, which is now 50 percent black, so that 60 percent of its members are black.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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