A permanent memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King for the city of Boston, The Boston Foundation, and Embrace Boston In collaboration with Mass Design Group.
When we recognize that all storytelling is an abstraction, all representation is an abstraction, hopefully it allows us to be open to more dynamic and complex forms of representation that don’t stick us to narrative that oversimplifies a person or their legacy, and I think this work really tries to get to the heart of that. — Hank Willis Thomas
The King Boston memorial, The Embrace, will be anchored on Boston Common, where, in 1965, Dr. King called Boston to live by its highest ideals. The Common, America’s first public park, has a vibrant 400-year-old history and a tradition of civic gatherings. The new memorial will spark a new public conversation about how to advance racial and social justice in Boston today.
When it is dedicated the Embrace will provide a living space for conversation, education, and reflection on the racial and economic justice ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, and serve as a permanent monument to the Kings’ time in Boston, a period in which they met and fell in love, and which helped shape their approach to a just and equitable society.
By highlighting the act of embrace, this sculpture shifts the emphasis from a singular hero worship to collective action, imploring those curious enough to investigate closer. Located at a crossroads in the Common, the landscape around the memorial reinforces the need for collective action inspired by love. The northern space faces the Capitol Building, the Shaw Memorial, and the Black Freedom trail. The southern space embraces the Parkman Bandstand where King addressed the commons on April 23, 1965, with Dudley Square and the education center out of site, but directionally aligned. Each space can accommodate various activities and levels of engagement.
January 13, 2023
Mass Design Group
The Boston Foundation
20-foot tall, 32- foot diameter