As soon as a monument in Boston was put up to honor the lives of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King, there was pushback.
On Friday, “The Embrace,” a 20-foot-tall, 40-foot-wide statue, was unveiled on Boston Common, where King spoke to a crowd of 22,000 on April 23, 1965. A picture of King and Scott King hugging after he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 was the inspiration for the statue.
The piece of art, which was made by Brooklyn-based conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas, only shows the couple’s arms when they are holding each other. This has led to criticism and jokes online. Some people said it was ugly or rude, and others posted memes saying it looked like a sex act.
Seneca Scott, an Oakland, California, community organizer and Scott King’s cousin, told the media that the statue was hurtful to his family. In an essay that was published by Compact Magazine, he had called it a “masturbatory metal homage.”
“If you look at it from all sides, and it looks like two people hugging each other, that’s four hands. Other people focus on the missing heads, but the real crime is a stump that looked like a penis. Scott told the media, “That’s a joke.”
But Martin Luther King III said on Monday that he was glad to see a statue that showed how his parents met and how they worked together. Even though some people don’t like the monument, he told the media on Monday that he did.
King said, “I think that’s a great way to show how important it is to bring people together.” “The artist did a great job, in my opinion. I’m satisfied. It didn’t have pictures of my mom and dad, but it was a symbol of something that brings people together.
“And now, when there are so many differences between people, we need symbols that talk about bringing us together,” he said.
The media has asked Thomas what he thinks about how people feel about “The Embrace.” Thomas wrote earlier this month in his newsletter that the piece was not only a memorial to King and Scott King but also a memorial to love and the power it has.
A representative for Embrace Boston, the nonprofit racial and economic justice group that made the monument didn’t want to say anything about the criticism and let King III speak for himself.
The group said about the memorial on its website, “The Embrace is meant to make people think about the values of racial and economic justice that both Kings stood for.”