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The Embrace: A New Monument Honoring Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King Sparks Mixed Reactions

A new statue, "The Embrace", was recently unveiled in Boston's oldest public park, Boston Common, to honor the memory of civil rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King. The statue, designed by Hank Willis Thomas and MASS Design Group, depicts a hug shared between Martin and Coretta after the former won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. The 20-foot tall and 40-foot wide monument was made of bronze and cost $10 million to create.

The picture the sculpture is modeled after

However, the unveiling of the statue has sparked mixed reactions among the public, with some calling it disrespectful. Some relatives of the civil rights leaders, such as Seneca Scott, a cousin of Coretta Scott, have expressed their disgust with the statue. In an essay for Compact Magazine, Scott wrote that "ten million dollars were wasted to create a masturbatory metal homage to my legendary family members—one of the all-time greatest American families." He went on to say that the statue looked more like "a pair of hands hugging a beefy penis" than a tribute to the iconic couple.

On the other hand, Martin Luther King III, the son of Martin and Coretta, expressed his satisfaction with the statue. In an interview with CNN, he said that while the statue did not feature the images of his parents, it represents something that brings people together in these divided times. He added that the statue represents the love story of his parents in Boston and the work of his mother. "Many monuments are done just around dad. But it represents the kind of relationship they had working together, and they were a partnership," said King III.

The design of "The Embrace" was selected from a pool of 125 submissions by the Boston Art Commission and the Boston Landmarks Commission in 2021. Artist Hank Willis Thomas stated that he did not expect to be selected, but was just trying to not get in the way of history once his proposal was approved. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu told the Boston Globe that the statue was created "to open our eyes to the injustice of racism and bring more people into the movement for equity."

In conclusion, "The Embrace" statue has sparked a range of opinions, with some calling it insulting while others see it as a symbol of unity and love. Martin Luther King III, the son of Martin and Coretta, is satisfied with the statue and sees it as a tribute to his parents' relationship and work. The statue, which was created with the intention of bringing more people into the movement for equality, is a reminder of the civil rights leaders' impact and their ongoing legacy. 

My unbiased opinion is that without already knowing what the monument represents, from a glance no one would have a clue what or who it is.