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'It's confusing,' New Martin Luther King Jr. sculpture in Boston gets mixed reviews

New monument honoring Martin Luther King getting mixed reaction
New monument honoring Martin Luther King getting mixed reaction 02:41

BOSTON - There has been mixed reaction to the new "Embrace" monument on Boston Common honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy.

The $10 million bronze sculpture funded through the non-profit, Embrace Boston as part of the Boston Foundation, was revealed last week.

The unveiling caused a stir on social media, with even members of Dr. King's family reacting. Martin Luther King III said he was satisfied with the monument in a CNN interview.

Meantime, Coretta Scott King's cousin tweeted, "I still can't get over how they tried to play my fam."

The project started back in 2017. Joel Jaquez, Associate Director of Policy & Partnerships for Embrace Boston told WBZ, "This is a great place for us to start that conversation on their history and the impact on their legacy."

MLK statue Boston
"The Embrace" monument honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King on Boston Common CBS Boston

It was in Boston that Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King first met. More than half a decade later, a moment of them embracing now stands tall on Boston Common as a permanent way to honor their legacy.

In Boston, some people agree with the online criticism.

"From certain angles it looks a little confusing," said one visitor. Another echoing that statement saying, "It's cool to get inside the statue but from the outside it's confusing for sure."

Denise Korn, Senior Advisor to Arts & Culture for Embrace Boston explained, "Great art asks questions so it's meant to be taken as a personal experience."

Korn and Jaquez were at the monument Tuesday to see the reaction from the community. They say artist Hank Willis Thomas has created an icon for the city. "He's very in touch with using art to throw out questions into the Universe," said Korn.

It took months for the Embrace Boston team to accept 126 applicants and narrow down five finalists.

"Out of all the nominees, this is the one that really spoke to us as a symbol of love," said Jaquez.

Danielle Johnson is the first Black female CEO to own an all-digital radio station, Spark FM Online. She has been getting both positive and negative reaction from her listeners about the statue.

"We cover Black stories and metro stories all the time," said Johnson. "The overall perception on first glance hasn't been perceived well."

Korn says seeing the monument in person could change people's opinions. "We invite everyone to come see it, walk inside and feel the love," she said.

Mira Woods told WBZ that's exactly what her family experienced seeing "The Embrace"
for the first time.

"I'm in tears because I think it's so exciting to see this come to fruition especially in a city
like Boston with such a history," said Woods.

Johnson says she hopes the monument will spark change within the community. "How will Embrace Boston move the needle forward to make sure the social inequities that we're facing in Boston and the disparities we face in Boston radicalize," she said.

It was on Boston Common that Dr. King spoke to thousands of people during the civil rights movement calling on the community to embrace one another.  

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