Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: Honoring the Legacy; Embracing the Dream
From The Foundation of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King… and now their granddaughter Yolanda Renee King. On Friday, January 13, 2023, the family of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gathered in Boston Common to unveil the new sculpture, the Embrace, honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King. Embrace was created by Hank Willis Thomas. The bronze sculpture is 20 feet long, 40 feet wide, and captures the Kings embracing in a historic moment after Dr. King received the Nobel Peace Prize.
Thomas stated, “In that picture, you can see the weight of him on her shoulders as they embrace,” he said. “And I realized that this was really a metaphor for his legacy — that she carried his legacy on her shoulders for several decades after he was assassinated” (https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/rcna64990). Boston was where the couple met while King was studying at Boston University and Coretta was attending the New England Conservatory of Music. In 1965, in this same location, King led 20,000 people in the northeast’s first march of the civil rights era to protest segregation in schools. After his assassination in 1968, Coretta King continued his legacy of fighting for civil rights. Their children and now their fourteen year old granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King – who has already given a speech on racial equality at the Lincoln Memorial in 2020 where her grandfather gave his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 – continue his legacy, as well.
At the unveiling of Embrace, the light of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. shown through his granddaughter, Yolanda Renee King and her resonating words: “I love this monument; I also see the love and strength and unity in these hands and how they symbolize a beautiful marriage and partnership. And (sic) it was one that changed the world. I never met my grandparents in person because they died before I was born and yet I feel I know them well. I have heard stories about them since I was a baby. I have studied their writings; I have listened to tapes of them speaking and I have watched videos that showed them in action. I feel that they are somehow with me, and our spirits are joined in the quest for a just and peaceful world. I am their granddaughter, and I am also challenged by their inspiring legacies vision, courage, hope, and healing. But I know that I am not alone, there is a sense that we are all children and grandchildren of Martin and Coretta Scott King. We are all challenged to carry forward their unfinished work – this is the spirit we must keep as we commemorate the 37th Martin Luther king, Jr. holiday on Monday. Let’s make it a great day of community service, a day of brotherhood, a day of sisterhood, a day of using your platform for good. A day of love and healing in the spirit of this wonderful Monument. Thank you” (https://www.nbcboston.com/on-air/as-seen-on/an-amazing-and-wonderful-occasion-king-family-speaks-at-the-embrace-unveiling/2944842/).
Yolanda Renee King then gave an impromptu interview with Latoyia Edwards and continued in the light of her grandparents, who she believed were with her (so do I). Here are her final words of the day: “I just really see there needs to be a lot of change in this world and I think it is all our responsibility to really do something. And so, I feel called to do this work and yet there are days I want to give up, and days where I never want to do this work again, and days where I feel it is tough, and days when I feel sad. But seeing, (sic) but then I see the love and I see so many people who also feel the same way and seeing monuments – I was talking with my parents, about how this is like ‘live 360’ because this monument is dedicated to their love and we really need more love in this world” (https://www.nbcboston.com/on-air/as-seen-on/this-is-like-love-360-latoyia-edwards-interviews-yolanda-renee-king-mlks-granddaughter/2944840/).