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Lorillard donates $1 million

OW Staff | 2/4/2009, 5 p.m.

Greensboro, NC - Lorillard Tobacco Company has agreed to donate $1 million to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum to commemorate the unique role that Greensboro played in advancing the civil rights movement. The Center will be located in the original F.W. Woolworth building on downtown Greensboro's Elm Street and will honor the sit-in of Feb. 1, 1960 that took place there, and other civil rights accomplishments. The donation is part of an additional $10 million in funding for the site that was announced during the Center's 49th annual awards gala on Saturday night.

According to Lorillard Chairman, CEO and President Martin L. Orlowsky, the opening of the museum will bring recognition to the role the city of Greensboro and its citizens played, and continue to play, in the civil rights movement. "As a company that has based its operations in Greensboro for more than 50 years, Lorillard has witnessed this community embrace, support and nurture the rights of individuals," he says. "We believe that the Civil Rights Center will have a profoundly positive impact on our city and county. We look forward to celebrating the historic importance of Greensboro and its brave young activists in launching the national civil rights movement 50 years ago."

Museum Executive Director Amelia Parker says that the financial generosity of Lorillard and other donors were the final pieces of the puzzle in bringing the project to life. "We are extremely grateful to Lorillard for this significant contribution that will help us in our efforts to open the Civil Rights Center in time to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Greensboro Sit-Ins in 2010," noted Parker. "It is particularly poignant that we accept this gift as we begin our community's celebration of Black History Month."