Jan 13, 2023 - News

Boston Common honors MLK with first new memorial in decades

Photo: Steph Solis/Axios

The bronze sculpture paying tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. makes its public debut today, just in time for MLK Day.

Why it matters: It’s the first new memorial in Boston Common in decades.

  • King gave a speech there on April 23, 1965, during which he highlighted the North's problem with de facto segregation in housing and schools.

The intrigue: Conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas designed “The Embrace,” which was erected between the Brewer Fountain and the Common visitor's center last year.

  • It depicts King’s hug with his wife, Coretta Scott King, after he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. The couple met and went to school in Boston.

What they're saying: "Scale and magnitude is one of the things that makes this monument awe-inspiring when you see it," Imari Paris Jeffries, executive director of Embrace Boston, the group behind the statue, told WBUR.

What’s happening: The installation of the memorial starts at 1pm.

Photo courtesy: Castle

By the numbers:

📏 22 feet: The height of the bronze sculpture.

🪨 38,000 pounds: The sculpture’s weight.

🧩 609 pieces of bronze make up the sculpture.

  • The surrounding plaza’s diamond-shaped pavers include more than 1,300 granite stone pieces in six different finishes. They are meant to mimic African American quilt-making traditions.

⏳ 30 years: The last time a monument was installed in Boston Common.

🎙️22,000: The estimated number of people who attended King’s speech in Boston Common.


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