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King Boston Project Looking To Break Ground During National NAACP Convention In July

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A non-profit group told WGBH News on Thursday that it intends to break ground on a monument to slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., on the Boston Common in July.

Marie St. Fleur, executive director of the King Boston Initiative, a non-profit group working with the City to create the memorial and programs honoring the legacies of King and his wife, Coretta Scott King to place a memorial sculpture of King on the Boston Common, said the group wants groundbreaking to coincide with the NAACP National Convention slated to be held in Boston from July 25 to 29.

“That is what we’re pushing forward and we’re asking the city to work with us. It’s an opportunity to highlight again our commitments and our progress in racial relations in the city,” she said.

The proposed sculpture — to be made out of steel with a bronze finish — will be shaped into clasped hands and is called “The Embrace” created by artist Hank William Thomas, will be in the shape of four hands clasped together and is meant to the city’s commitment to diversity.

“What better national stage to highlight that than to celebrate the leader of the civil rights movement here in the United States,” St. Fleur said.

She told WGBH News that she’s hopeful the memorial will be able to clear bureaucratic hurdles with the Boston Landmark Commission, the Boston Arts Commission and the Parks Department in time.

“The Common is such a very important space for the city. [The permitting process] is complicated,” she said. “We are trying to make our way through that process.

“This really presents an opportunity to launch a new era of progress in racial relationships and to be able to have a real visual of that.”

The King Boston project said it also plans to create a new King Center for Economic Justice at the Dudley Branch of the Boston Public Library in Roxbury.

Mayor Marty Walsh said he supports locating the memorial on Boston Common.

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Martin Luther King Junior earned his doctorate from Boston University in 1955 and met his wife, Coretta, while she was on fellowship at the New England Conservatory of Music.





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