The 22-foot statue, which was unveiled in Boston Common on Friday intends to honour the relationship between the civil rights activist and his wife, Coretta Scott King, and was made by sculptor Hank Willis Thomas after the city released a call to artists in 2017 to create a memorial to the Kings.
“This work is really about the capacity for each of us to be enveloped in love, and I feel enveloped in love every time I hear the names and see the faces of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King,” Thomas told the Boston Globe.
And Mayor Michelle Wu said the sculpture might help the public live up to King’s vision, “to open our eyes to the injustice of racism and bring more people into the movement for equity,” according to the Boston Globe.
“The recognition of Coretta Scott King shows that we are a city that will take on the full legacy of the Kings and challenge injustice everywhere from a place of love,” Wu said in a statement. “As we continue our work to ensure Boston is a city for everyone, this memorial is a powerful call to embrace each other more, embrace our nation’s history, and embrace what’s possible when we center community.”
“I hope people who experience ‘The Embrace’ understand or overstand the power of connection for the enhancement of our lives,” Thomas told the paper, adding, “I am excited about building markers that can direct us toward nonviolent coexistence and allow us to tell new stories about our history, our present, our future.”
However, not everyone was as enamored with the statue and took to Twitter to voice their displeasure with some calling if "obscene from certain angles".
\u201cPeople: Hey Boston! Let\u2019s make a statue representing MLK!\n\nBoston: \u2026\n\u201d
\u201cThat MLK statue looks obscene from certain angles, but when you see the whole thing you realize it\u2019s supposed to depict the result of Martin Luther King Jr. and Corretta Scott King having gone through the teleporter in The Fly together.\u201d
\u201cAs a side note, I'm not against expensive pussy eating statues. I love both the concept and the practice. But to do this "to honor MLK"? Why? Show me a white man that was honored with a statue of only two of his limbs. This is some fuckshit and we all know it.\u201d
— Black to the Future (@Black to the Future)
\u201cGiven that I am not White, I am safe from ANY charges of racism for saying the MLK embrace statue is aesthetically unpleasant. The famous photo should have been a FULL statue of the couple and their embrace. What a huge swing and miss in honoring the Dr & Mrs King. SAD! #bospoli\u201d
— Rasheed N. Walters (@Rasheed N. Walters)
\u201cThe quality of their new MLK statue is how I know Boston is still racist\n\u201d