Boston’s statue of Martin Luther King Jr. slammed: ‘The ugliest thing ever’

A statue honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his wife Coretta Scott King have been called the “ugliest thing”.

The 20-foot-tall statue, titled “Embrace,” was unveiled on Saturday, January 14 at America’s oldest urban park, Boston Common.

Weighing 309 pounds, the statue stands on the spot where the civil rights leader delivered a speech on April 23, 1965. It shows the moment he hugged his wife after receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

Martin Luther King Jr
Civil rights activist Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. delivers a speech in Sproul Plaza at UC Berkeley in California on May 17, 1967. People have slammed a new statue dedicated to King in Boston.
Michael Ochs Archive/Michael Ochs Archive/Getty Images

Conceptual artist Hank Willis Thomas designed the sculpture, which features the historic couple’s arms and shoulders.

“This work is a reminder that each of us carries within us the ability to either be either of those people, or actually something inspired and more influential by them,” he wrote on Instagram.

King’s son Martin Luther King III and daughter Yolanda Renee King, 14, attended the unveiling, where the teenager delivered an impassioned speech.

But not all members of the family were happy with the final product, which is believed to have cost around $10 million and took five years to make.

Scott’s cousin Seneca Scott slammed the statue, saying it was “masturbatory.”

“When it came out, a little boy pointed out, ‘That’s ap****!’ and everyone was like, ‘Yo, that’s a big old d*** man,'” he said Compact.

“If you showed that statute to someone in the ‘Hood’, they would have said, ‘No, absolutely not’.”

Seneca added, “Tens of millions of dollars wasted creating a masturbatory metal tribute to my legendary family members – one of the greatest American families of all time.”

It seems many others agreed with the 43-year-old, arguing that it looked like a phallus.

“WTF – this city continues to deliver MILD racial advancement, performative actions and TEMPERED attempts at inclusion – the #MLK statue looks like a big p****. Yes I will check out the lg p**** but it’s still ap****,” one person tweeted.

Another added: “I know the design is from a photo of MLK and Coretta hugging. But why not have a sculpture of their faces instead? We see Paul Revere’s face in two places. But for MLK we get guns? I live here and I’m honestly disappointed Boston.”

And a third commented: “I’m sorry but this new MLK sculpture in Boston is the ugliest thing I’ve ever seen.”

news week asked Thomas for a comment.

The statue was funded through a combination of private and public funding and required approval from the Boston Art Commission and the Boston Landmarks Commission.

King had a long history with Boston, including earning his Ph.D. in theology from Boston University in 1955. He also met Scott in town while she was studying at the New England Conservatory of Music.

The artist explained that the sculpture should be interactive and people can stand underneath to “be in the heart of their embrace”.

“When you reach out to another person, share your love and actually do something that you believe will create opportunity for those who don’t have the same ones you do,” Thomas said NBC News.

The statue was unveiled ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on January 16, a national holiday commemorating his birthday.

Despite being born on January 15, MLK Day is always celebrated on the third Monday in January – the day closest to the civil rights activist’s birthday. In 2023 this is January 16th.

The civil rights activist was instrumental in ending racial segregation in the workplace, on public transport, and in schools, demanding racial equality through campaigns, marches, and iconic speeches in the 1950s and 1960s. Boston’s statue of Martin Luther King Jr. slammed: ‘The ugliest thing ever’

Rick Schindler

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