The city of Boston recently unveiled a new sculpture, crafted by the conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas, in honor of the iconic civil rights figures Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. The artist, who was chosen from a pool of 125 applicants, was initially surprised by his selection, stating, "When I submitted the proposal, I didn’t even think that we really had a chance."
The bronze structure, entitled "The Embrace," depicts the Kings in a moment of affection, captured in a famous photograph taken after Martin received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Measuring 20 feet in length and 26 feet in width, the monument is situated at Boston Common, the oldest city park in America. It aims to inspire visitors and pay tribute to the legacy of the Kings.
The unveiling ceremony, which took place on Friday, was attended by several notable figures, including Martin Luther King III, the son of the civil rights leaders, and Yolanda Renee King, the 14-year-old granddaughter of the Kings, who delivered a speech on racial equality at the Lincoln Memorial in 2020.
The monument, which took five years to create, is intended to reflect the deep love and connection shared by the Kings and highlight the power of a single, iconic moment in their lives. The artist, Thomas, noted that the sculpture also serves as a metaphor for Martin's legacy, which Coretta carried on for decades after his assassination in 1968. Coretta, who was not only the wife of Martin but also a civil rights activist in her own right, continued to promote peace and equality and advocate for marginalized communities, including LGBTQ individuals, women, children, and the poor. She even led a protest for better living wages with more than 40,000 people shortly after her husband's death. Despite being King's wife, Thomas noted that Coretta's gender often marginalized her role in the civil rights movement.