Celebrate this year’s Martin Luther King Day with "The Embrace," Boston's new monument to the great civil rights activist. The large 45,000-pound, 20-foot-high, 40-foot-wide bronze sculpture, designed by artist Hank Willis Thomas and MASS Design Group, depicts the embrace between Dr. Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King when he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. One of the largest memorials dedicated to racial equity, it is the first new monument at Boston Common, the nation’s oldest public park, in more than 30 years.
Comprised of over 1,300 granite stone pieces in six different finishes, the diamond-shaped pavers evoke African-American quilt-making traditions, according to the design team. The pattern symbolizes unity and collectivism, echoing a famous quote from Dr. King in his letter from Birmingham Jail in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.
Presented by Embrace Boston, a nonprofit think tank promoting acceptance and equality in the city, the project took five years to complete. Located along the 1965 Freedom Plaza which simultaneously honors 69 local civil rights heroes selected by their communities for their work during the Kings’ time in the city, the unveiling, which took place on January 13, 2023, featured speakers who included members from the King family.