Image: NAACP Tyler Perry
Peter Kramer  /  AP
Tyler Perry is shown at the Sept. 8 premiere of his "I Can Do Bad All By Myself," in New York.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 11/24/2009 2:04:01 PM ET 2009-11-24T19:04:01

Filmmaker Tyler Perry has donated $1 million to the NAACP to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the civil rights organization.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People says the gift announced Monday is the largest donation from an individual in the organization's history. It will be distributed over four years.

"I feel so honored and blessed to be in a position where I can give," Perry said in a statement. "Had it not been for the perseverance and vision of the thousands who came before me in the 100 years of this legendary organization, I would not be in the position I am in today."

NAACP leaders say the gift marks a major shift in black philanthropy. They say donations of this size have not typically gone to civil rights groups.

"We are honored that Tyler Perry chose to support the NAACP," said Julian Bond, chairman of the NAACP. "Tyler is a courageous pioneer in bringing positive images of African American culture and struggles to the screen. His remarkable journey from poverty and childhood abuse to become one of the world’s most successful filmmakers and entrepreneurs is an inspiration to us all." 

Perry is the creative force behind the "Madea" film franchise, as well as executive producer of the critically acclaimed "Precious," a recently released film about an obese, poor, illiterate, young black woman who is sexually and emotionally abused.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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