Statue to honor MLK on Boston Common is selected

The Embrace

King Boston, a group set up to select and build a memorial for Martin Luther King, said today it's selected "The Embrace," by Hank Willis Thomas and the MASS Design Group.

Inspired by images of the Kings locked in a powerful embrace and walking arm in arm at the frontlines of a protest or march, the sculpture depicts clasped arms in the Boston Common. "Is there a more radical act of justice than love?" asks Michael Murphy, founding principal and executive director of MASS Design Group.

Through the sculpture and landscape, the artists chose to focus on the act rather than the individual, to highlight our collective role in advancing the vision - exactly what the Kings sought to engender. By solidifying the ideals of inclusion that the Kings sought to defend in their united life of activism, the artists aim to call people into the act of empathy and action. Passersby will be able to walk beneath the interlocked arms of the sculpture, and the artists are siting the monument to create two gathering spaces - one facing the State House, and the other facing toward the iconic Parkman Bandstand, where Dr. King addressed the Common in April 1965.

King Boston hopes to have the statue ready for unveiling sometime next year. It now begins work on a potential King Center for Economic Justice in Roxbury.

The King Center is envisioned as a dynamic space for civic education, reflection and debate that deploys tools to help drive resident-informed strategies to promote economic mobility in Roxbury and beyond.

Compare the five memorial finalists.

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Comments

Statue

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That thing is just awful. Artists are so clueless. Should've done a simple statue with a little reflecting pool.

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Voting closed 53

So sorry

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But art has moved on from greco-roman realism in statues. I think it's very nice myself.

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Voting closed 51

Moved on and now occupies

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Moved on and now occupies space next to brutalist architecture.

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Sadly

A homeless shelter would be a better monument for King than a shiny ass-grab.

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Escher

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Will Escher get a side credit on the design?

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Voting closed 11

Yeah...

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this and each of the other finalists were all kinda bad. None of them is particularly MLK-ish and The Embrace looks more like ripped-off arms thrown in a pile on top of each other

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Fixed

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Thanks!

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Voting closed 2

Take out the Pope John Paul

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Take out the Pope John Paul plaque and put this there. Then there is less space taken up. Its ridiculous having a plaque for a pope who was in charge while hundreds of kids in the Boston area were getting raped by priests.

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Voting closed 50

Let's take it a step further.

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Let's get rid of ALL religious monuments, statues and plaques. We don't need tributes to any sky fairies around here.

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Voting closed 23

Or

They could just switch the plaques. This looks enough like a man grabbing a child's ass to work for a Pope Lookaside monument.

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Voting closed 7

Civics 101

Did I miss election day?

I don't know, did you? I didn't; I voted for candidates for city council and for Mayor, among others.

When did we vote to put another monument on the ever-shrinking Common?

We didn't vote specifically for that, nor did we vote to replace that leaking toilet on the third floor of City Hall, nor did we vote for what color to paint the children's reading room of the Hyde Park branch of the Boston Public Library.

Instead, we voted for a city government that we believe best represents our interests, and we delegated to them the authority to make, on our behalf, decisions involving stewardship of our property, including Boston Common.

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Voting closed 18

The PR strategy was which of these do you want?

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Not do you want one? Now they are suggesting long public process supports this. Not the same thing.

A committee formed with zero public discussion of whether the common was a suitable place, and the committee then left public figures on an awkward spot of deciding whether to oppose it, which of course they haven’t because it would be too awkward. That’s not the process by which things should be added/ removed from the common.

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And the recuperation of King continues unabated

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this gesture in a deeply racist city, still one of the most segregated in the country, of solidarity with King's legacy should be seen for what it is, a photo op for "post-racialism" while they do nothing to address the issues against which he fought. Just as this will serve is a back ground for tourist photos where people hug and pretend racism is over. His memory deserves better.

King was a radical his message cannot be simply reduced to love. He opposed racism, capitalism, and militarism, and when he was murdered he was standing in solidarity with striking workers. He recognized the necessity for struggle and detested those who placed peace over justice.

In his own words on the white moderate: "I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to 'order' than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice"

That is the dominant tendency in this city and it has no right to claim his legacy without wrestling with his actual thoughts and efforts.

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Voting closed 22

Well

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Not that I disagree with you or your sentiment, but, I would point out that from the studies I have seen, Boston generally doesn't even make the top 10 most segregated cities in the country (not that we don't have more to do on that front).

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It's hideous.

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That monstrosity looks Lovecraftian.

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Grotesque

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If there had been a referendum I would have voted against using the Common for any other memorials or statutes. But we the electorate don't understand either art or community enough to be qualified to have an opinion.

However, this looks like a large version of the emoji that is brown and squiggly. This selection is disgusting. It is way too close to resembling the image of the end of digestion.

The other entries were a thousand times better. Who chose this bronze pile of crap?

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Voting closed 31

Love?

Or ass-grabbing?

Did they work off a still of Al Franken greeting a supporter?

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One thing missing

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The mock-up doesn't show the fencing that will be needed to keep kids from climbing on this.

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...or the rubber flooring

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...or the rubber flooring that will be needed to keep kids from smashing their skulls when they slide off.

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I Blame Jeffrey Koons

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for this monstrosity. Paris had the good sense to evict this kind of gimmicky crap from its public spaces - and now we're embracing it. It makes us look like a bunch of rubes. (ala Steve Wynn.)

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Voting closed 21