King Boston: Bringing the Memorial to Life

TBF News Spring 2019

In March, the King Boston Arts Committee announced the winners of the design competition for the King Memorial on Boston Common: artists Hank Willis Thomas and MASS Design Group. Their sculpture, The Embrace, depicts clasped arms and was warmly received in the press and the community. “Is there a more radical act of justice than love?” asked Michael Murphy, founding principal and executive director of MASS Design Group. “The choice to love your neighbor, to love someone who is not yourself, to go into a community and act is the foundational seed of social justice.” Hank Willis Thomas added, “Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King are monumental examples of the capacity of love to shape society. I can only hope The Embrace can be a reminder and a call to action to each of us to never forget what they’ve taught us.”


The King Boston teach-in series that was featured in the winter issue of this newsletter continued with two other sessions. In January, the second teach-in highlighted the college winners of an essay contest sponsored by King Boston and inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. It was held in the sanctuary of the African Meeting House and led by L’Merchie Frazier, Director of Education and Interpretation at the Museum of African American History. Students shared excerpts from their essays exploring the Kings’ writings on poverty, housing, the church and transportation through a contemporary lens. Finally, on Coretta Scott King’s 92nd birthday, the third teach-in was held at the Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury. Rev. Jeffrey L. Brown, Associate Pastor, welcomed those gathered, including members of the church. During the teach-in, a panel of four accomplished professionals shared their strategies and innovative models for increasing economic mobility in communities of color.


King Boston is in preliminary conversations with the Boston Public Library to locate the King Center for Economic Justice in the newly renovated Dudley Branch in Roxbury. Community conversations focused on the new center will begin this spring.
Kings Getty Images
King Embrace Newsletter
An iconic image of the Kings' embrace served as the inspiration for the sculpture planned for Boston Common. (Top image: Getty Images)