ANDDr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, were unveiled in Boston on Friday, ahead of Monday’s national holiday honoring the civil rights icon.
The 22-foot-tall sculpture, dubbed “The Embrace,” depicts Dr. King and Coretta’s embrace after he won the 1964 Nobel Peace Prize.
A $10 million bronze statue, designed by Hank Willis Thomas and MASS Design Group, now stands on Freedom Plaza on Boston Common, America’s first public park.
“It’s a great honor to be part of this memorial unveiling ceremony, which truly signifies the bond of love my parents share,” Dr. Martin Luther King III, Dr. King’s eldest son, said at the unveiling ceremony.
Dr. King met his wife Coretta in Boston in the 1950s, when he was a doctoral student in theology at Boston University and she was a student at the New England Conservatory of Music.
He began preaching in Boston and eventually led the civil rights march from Roxbury to Boston Common, where the statue now stands.
“Whenever I’ve come to Boston in the past, I’ve always felt a powerful bond of solidarity with this first great American city,” said King III. “Of course, this is the city where my parents met, fell in love and decided to start a family. And in a way, I owe my existence to Boston as the place where my parents found each other.”
Paul English, an entrepreneur, initiated and invested in the Embrace project in 2017. The project’s co-leader, Reverend Liz Walker, consulted with developers, artists, and educators to find an artist and design for the structure.
The Embrace also has a digital experience with a self-guided app that allows visitors to learn about the monument, Wolności Square and the legacy of the Kings.
The project’s executive director, Imari Paris Jeffries, said the statue not only marks an important, unifying kings civil rights movement, but also represents a rarely told story of black love.
“We want one of the messages that will stay in people’s minds is that this is one of the few memorials in this country that is rooted in the story of a black family, a black love story,” Jeffries told CBS Boston.
At the unveiling, Yolanda Renee King, the kings’ only granddaughter, urged attendees to continue the important but “unfinished work” of her grandparents.
“This is the spirit we must keep as we celebrate the 37th Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday.” said the teenager. “Let’s make this a great community service day. A day of brotherhood. Sisterhood day. A day of using the platform for good. A day of love and healing in the spirit of this great monument,” the 14-year-old king told the crowd.