embrace boston

King Family Talks ‘Power of Love' and Boston's Monument to MLK, Coretta Scott

You can watch special coverage of the unveiling of The Embrace on NBC10 Boston from 12 to 3 p.m. Friday

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What does Boston's new monument celebrating the love of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King bring to mind for their descendants?

"Strength," said Martin Luther King III ahead of the unveiling of The Embrace statue.

"Perseverance and the power of love," said his teenage daughter, Yolanda King, taking the words right out of her mother's mouth.

The monument commemorating the love between civil rights icons Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King was unveiled Friday.

The three members of the King family joined NBC10 Boston ahead of the official presentation of the 20-ton bronze statue on Boston Common Friday, a landmark event being attended by other dignitaries as well.

PHOTOS: The Embrace Unveiled on Boston Common

The statue was inspired by a photo of the Kings embracing in 1964, after it was announced that Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize.

For King III, the statue had personal resonance: "I must say, thank God for this love story … I wouldn't be here!"

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick spoke with NBC10 Boston's Malcolm Johnson at Friday's unveiling of "The Embrace" on Boston Common.

But he noted that, with the country "struggling with a lot of issues," the concept of a public embrace is important.

"This monument about bringing people together for social justice is just amazing," he said.

His wife, Arndrea Waters King, said it's important that The Embrace be in Boston, where her mother- and father-in-law met, and will hopefully inspire future generations to learn about their love story, "and people really finding themselves within that embrace and hopefully taking that love back into their lives and to their worlds."

The Kings' life in Boston was important for the family — it was their only time together entirely outside of the public eye, she pointed out.

A brand new monument to Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, will be unveiled Friday.

During the unveiling ceremony, Yolanda stole the show. She said she loves the monument, in which she sees their "love and strength and unity," and discussed how she's studied her grandparents and feels their spirit with her — even wondering if a gust of wind that briefly interrupted remarks was their presence.

"I know that I am not alone," she said. "There is a sense in which we are all children and grandchildren of Martin and Coretta Scott King. We are all challenged to carry forth their unfinished work."

Her poise inspired event emcee Latoyia Edwards, who called Yolanda back on stage for a quick interview, where she gave the statue what the artist who designed it, Hank Willis Thomas, later said might end up being its de facto name, "Love 360."

"I was talking with my parents about how this is almost love 360, because this monument is dedicated to their love, and we really need more love in the world," she said.

NBC10 Boston's Latoyia Edwards was so impressed by Yolanda King's speech at Friday's unveiling of 'The Embrace' that she called her back up on the stage for an impromptu interview.

The monument's plaza also includes the names of 65 other Boston leaders memorialized on the plaza. The 22-foot-tall sculpture's main message is love, MASS Design Group principal architect Jonathan Evans has said.

“What I love about it is you can actually feel their embrace, you can get inside this, it’s occupiable, so the idea that we can kind of feel that message, feel their love, I think is really inspiring," he said. "Our hope is that it becomes in some ways kind of a call to action, this idea that inspires us to take that message further and keep going.”

The 22-foot high bronze sculpture, sitting on a circular granite plaza, is much more than just a monument to MLK’s life and legacy.
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