Where MLK and Coretta met and studied, a memorial will rise

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BOSTON (AP) – A major memorial honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King advances to Boston, where they met and studied in the 1950s.

King Boston, the private organization that coordinates the estimated $ 9.5 million project, said this week that manufacture of an approximately 22-foot-tall bronze sculpture depicting four entwined arms is expected to begin in March after years of planning.

When unveiled at the end of next year, “The Embrace” will be one of the nation’s largest new racial equity memorials, according to the organization. It will be installed on Boston Common near the site of a 1965 rally and march led by MLK, who would have turned 92 on Friday.

Imari Paris Jeffries, executive director of King Boston, said organizers hope their broader effort will serve as a model to show how public monuments can spark affirmative action in the wake of national recognition of racism sparked by George’s murder. Floyd in Minneapolis last year.

In addition to the King’s Memorial, the organization is also raising funds to build an Economic Justice Center in Roxbury, a historically black neighborhood of Boston where the MLK preached. He also plans to launch an annual rally on race and equity issues.

“It’s not just how symbols and monuments represent this commitment to equity and inclusion,” Jeffries said. “It’s also about how research, data and policy work to find new solutions, and how we use the arts and humanities to anchor ourselves.

Dr Vicki Crawford, director of the MLK collection at Morehouse College, the civil rights leader’s alma mater in Atlanta, Ga., Said the Boston project also stands out because it honors the significant contributions of Coretta Scott King alongside her husband.

She founded the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta and successfully led the campaign to make her birthday a national holiday after her assassination in 1968.

“She hasn’t received adequate recognition for institutionalizing her philosophy of non-violence,” Crawford said. “He couldn’t have done it without her by his side.

Other recent MLK landmarks include a bronze statue on the grounds of the Georgia Capitol, consecrated in 2017, and the towering granite likeness of the National Mall which opened in 2011.

King Boston was launched in 2017 to address what organizers saw as a glaring shortcoming, given that MLK spent some of its formative years in Boston. The Georgia native earned a doctorate in divinity from Boston University and served as an assistant minister at the city’s Twelfth Baptist Church.

The memorial effort was then expanded to honor Coretta Scott King, who received a degree in music education from the New England Conservatory. It was further expanded to also recognize Boston civil rights leaders in the 1960s, whose names will be commemorated in the surrounding plaza.

Like other racial justice efforts, Jeffries said King Boston was empowered by civic activism after Floyd’s murder. The organization has raised about $ 8 million of the total $ 12 million it has raised to date in about eight months last year, he said.

The project also comes as Boston, which was marked by violent protests against its public school desegregation efforts in the 1970s, is experiencing a sort of “black renaissance,” Jeffries said.

The city of nearly 700,000 residents, about a quarter of whom are black, now has its first black police commissioner and is also home to the state’s first black district attorney and the first black congressman of the ‘State. Soon, New England’s largest city will also have its first …

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