Boston Leaders Reflect on Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Say There's More Work to Be Done

Boston is anxiously awaiting the Martin Luther King memorial to be placed in Boston Common; the sculpture's unveiling is scheduled for Martin Luther King Day in 2023

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Hundreds gathered Monday at Starlight in Cambridge’s Central Square to honor Martin Luther King, Jr., and to walk the streets of the neighborhood while learning about the local Black and Brown history.

“We are challenging people to think about MLK as if he was on this walk with us," said Nico Emack, one of the event's organizers.

Emack prefers not to call MLK Day a celebration because he feels that implies the work is done.

“We need to roll up our sleeves because there’s still a lot left to do,” Emack, of "My Brother's Keeper," said.

In-person events have been limited due to the coronavirus pandemic, so many local leaders joined virtual events on Monday, like an annual collaboration between the City of Boston, Boston University -- where King got his PhD in the 1950s -- and the New England Conservatory -- where Coretta Scott King got her music degree.

“It is on this legacy of the civil rights movement, the legacy of the fight for racial equality, the legacy of these giants of history, that today’s activists build a brighter future for us all," said Boston Mayor Michelle Wu.

The family of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. is honoring him on Monday by leading a voting rights march in Washington D.C. CEO Andrea Hailey makes the case that voting rights is this generation's civil rights issue.

Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley says in order to truly recognize Dr. King, the filibuster must be abolished so voting rights legislation can be passed. And Pressley also says she does not appreciate when King’s legacy is reduced to that of a peaceful protester with a dream.

"When the whole truth is that Dr. King was a proud and unapologetic Black man, a prophetic preacher and radical dreamer with a bold vision and desire for revolutionary change," Pressley said.

Boston is anxiously awaiting the Martin Luther King memorial to be placed in Boston Common. The unveiling of the 22-foot bronze sculpture is scheduled for Martin Luther King Day in 2023.

“What I particularly admire about Dr. King is his persistence. His determination, his dedication his motivation," said Elijah Booker of “My Brother’s Keeper."

The nation and the Boston community will honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday with a series of events.

“His dedication to making sure that black voices and black experiences were not only just heard but understood,” Elizabeth Pierre of Cambridge added.

In the 1950s this was the side of the 12th Baptist Church were MLK once preached. Now a residential building this mural callEd Roxbury love story as a tribute to the civil rights leader, his wife Coretta Scott King and there early roots in Boston.

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