“Love is such a powerful force. It’s there for everyone to embrace-that kind of unconditional love for all of humankind. That is the kind of love that impels people to go into the community and try to change conditions for others, to take risks for what they believe in.”
Coretta Scott King
MARCH 2021 - SEPTEMBER 2021
MASS DESIGN GROUP
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
44 hectare site
I joined during the construction documentation phase of the project and contributed largely to the Rhino computer model and documentation of the architectural elements in the plaza. My comprehensive reconstruction of the computer model of the plaza, quote wall bench, and positioning of the sculpture provided the necessary information for documentation updates for coordination with engineers, the stone fabricators, the landscape architects, and the sculpture fabricators as well as submittals to the City of Boston Planning Department.
The King Boston memorial, The Embrace, will be anchored on Boston Common, where, in 1965, Dr. King called Boston to live by its highest ideals. The Common, America’s first public park, has a vibrant 400-year-old history and a tradition of civic gatherings. The new memorial will spark a new public conversation about how to advance racial and social justice in Boston today.
When it is dedicated, currently planned for 2022, the Embrace will provide a living space for conversation, education and reflection on the racial and economic justice ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King, and serve as a permanent monument to the Kings’ time in Boston, a period in which they met and fell in love, and which helped shape their approach to a just and equitable society.
On multiple occasions, the nation witnessed the Kings embracing at the frontlines of a march. A monument that captures this declares that love is the ultimate weapon against injustice. In evoking the love shared between the Kings, their commitment to each other, and their ideals, The Embrace is overwhelmingly simple and accessible: it is about what we share, not what sets us apart.
Beneath the 20-22' high arms of Dr. King and Coretta Scott, passersby will be reminded of our shared human connection. This memorial will envelop participants, allowing them to be simultaneously vulnerable and protected. The memorial will solidify the ideals of inclusion that the Kings defended in their united life of activism. We seek to call people into the act of empathy, an idea Coretta Scott captured when she spoke about the power and accessibility of unconditional love. When embraced, this love impels people to go into their community, take risks, and change others' lives for the better.
The Embrace will sit in the center of the circular plaza displaying a star quilt pattern that spreads throughout the site. The quilt, fabric that symbolizes unity and collectivism, echoes a famous quote from Martin Luther King, Jr: “All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”
“In a real sense all life is interrelated. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be... This is the inter-related structure of reality.”
- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Letter from the Birmingham Jail