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MLK’s new statue in Boston: What does it represent, who designed it and how much did it cost?

A new monument to the civil rights leader has been unveiled in Massachusetts representing one of his most famous moments.

After the death of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Junior, the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences postponed the 40th Oscars.
Julian WasserThe LIFE Images Collection/Getty

Martin Luther King Jr. is a titan of American history. One of the nation’s federal holidays is named in his honour. Now he is again recognised with a new monument in Boston, Massachusetts, alongside his wife Coretta.

The structure is named “The Embrace” and is modelled after the iconic hug between King and his wife Coretta after he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Decendants of the pair lavished praise on the ceremony and the statue.

“It is a great honor to be a part of this unveiling ceremony for the memorial, which truly signifies the bond of love shared by my parents,” Dr. Martin Luther King III, the oldest son of Dr. King, said at the unveiling ceremony.

Boston was the city which King’s parents met in the 1950s. She was an author and civil rights activist herself.

The $10 million statue was designed by Hank Willis Thomas and MASS Design Group. The project’s executive director, Imari Paris Jeffries explained to CBS that the statue is a representation of black love as well as a marker for the King’s themselves.

“We want one of the messages that stay in people’s minds is that this is one of the few memorials in this country that is rooted on the story of a Black family, Black love,” Jeffries said.

The continuing legacy of the Kings

After going on to co-found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a civil rights group devoted to achieving equality for African Americans through non-violent protest, King helped to organise the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, a peaceful rally aimed at drawing attention to racial discrimination in the US.

During the historic March on Washington, which drew a gathering of around 250,000 people, King gave his iconic “I have a dream” speech - an address which spelled out his vision for equality and social justice in the US and is considered a defining moment of the civil rights movement. The Civil Rights Act was passed the following year.