MILWAUKEE (BUSINESS WIRE), August 23, 2011 - Most Americans believe the “most monumental” facet of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, legacy is the advancement of civil rights in the U.S., according to the Northwestern Mutual Foundation’s “Monumental Legacy” survey.

When asked “which aspect of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy is most monumental,” half of respondents (47%) chose “his advancements in civil rights to help all people achieve their full potential.”

About one-third (37%) chose “his efforts to end poverty and raise awareness about people-in-need.” About one-in-six (16%) selected “his unwavering commitment to core values: nonviolence, justice and equality.”

“When you’re asked to assess the legacy of a man who left so much behind to future generations, it’s challenging to say what is most monumental,” said Kimberley Goode, Northwestern Mutual Foundation president. “Our survey shows that most Americans will remember Martin Luther King, Jr.’s passion for civil rights and his courage to stick with his dream to secure equal opportunities for all Americans.”

The survey was presented prior to the dedication of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., monument on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., on Sunday, August 28. The culminating event of the dedication weekend is Morehouse College’s Memorial Concert and Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr., presented by the Northwestern Mutual Foundation. The concert, which will take place at the Kennedy Center on Sunday, August 28 at 7 p.m., will be hosted by Morehouse alumnus and Academy Award-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson and his wife, actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson. It will feature “Timeless Voices” Eddie Levert, Dennis Edwards and Johnny Gill. Grammy Award-winner Stevie Wonder and Congressman John Conyers, (D) Michigan, will both receive the Presidential Renaissance Medallion of Merit for their roles in spearheading the effort to recognize King’s birthday as a national holiday.

Conducted Wednesday, August 17 to Monday, August 22, 2011, 1,060 Americans nationwide answered the Northwestern Mutual’s Foundation’s “Monumental Legacy” survey.

Most Americans select “strengthening family” as the legacy they’ll leave behind

Survey respondents were also asked what kind of legacy they are leaving behind. By far, a super-majority of Americans (75%) said they were committed to “strengthening my family.”

One-in-five (20%) said they’d like to be remembered for both “strengthening my favorite charitable and social causes” and “strengthening my local community.” About one-in-six (16%) said they were committed to “strengthening my country.”

“For most Americans, efforts to strengthen society start at home,” said Goode. “It’s encouraging to see so many holding themselves accountable for setting a strong foundation for their children and future generations.”

About the Northwestern Mutual Foundation

The mission of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation is to build strong, vibrant communities that serve as a legacy to future generations. The Foundation’s giving is designed to create an impact on the communities where the company’s employees and financial representatives live and work. In fiscal year 2011, the Foundation contributed more than $16 million to nonprofit organizations across the country.

About Morehouse College

As the nation’s largest, private liberal arts college for men, Morehouse College was recently recognized as the number one liberal arts college in the nation by Washington Monthly; one of 45 “Best Buy” schools for 2011 by the Fiske Guide to Colleges; one of the nation’s Most Grueling Colleges in 2010 by The Huffington Post; the number three HBCU in the nation for 2011 by U.S. News and World Report; and as one of American’s Best Colleges for three consecutive years by Forbes magazine.

Prominent alumni include Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize winner and civil and human rights non-violent leader; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General and director of the National Center for Primary Care of Morehouse School of Medicine; Shelton “Spike” Lee, filmmaker and president of 40 Acres & A Mule Productions and Samuel L. Jackson, Academy Award-nominated actor. In 2006, Morehouse College acquired the Martin Luther King Jr. Collection that includes 13,000 personal writings, sermons, speeches and books of the late civil rights activist.