The Embrace statue inaugurated in Boston – Telemundo New England

History was made on Boston Common on Friday during the unveiling of ‘The Embrace’ monument, honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King and the love they shared with the world.

Dignitaries from across Massachusetts joined the King family at the unveiling of the 20-ton statue on Boston Common, where the Kings had their first date and not far from the Parkman Bandstand, where King spoke in 1965.

“Let this monument be a reminder to us, even here, that history best remembers our embraces, and that we still have within us the capacity and the call for love,” former Governor Deval Patrick said ahead of the unveiling.

Speakers, including the King family, highlighted how the monument physically embodies the legacy of the Kings, whose legendary activism and leadership in Birmingham, Selma, Washington and across the country took the civil rights movement to new heights.

“I was talking to my parents about how this is almost 360 love, because this monument is dedicated to their love and we really need more love in the world,” said Yolanda King, the Kings’ teenage granddaughter.

His father, Martin Luther King III, noted that he owes his existence to Boston, as it is where his parents met.

EN PHOTOS: Inauguration of ‘The Embrace’

“Boston became the place where they forged a partnership where they changed America,” he said.

Much of the event was a family affair: Hank Willis Thomas, the artist who designed The Embrace, brought his little girl up on stage and gave her a chance to speak, too. He had several messages for the crowd: “Happy New Year,” “I love you,” and, after a dramatic pause, “Boo!”

Thomas also had a message for the Kings: “The only thing that was in our hearts when we did this piece was to honor you and your family and make you proud.”

The process to honor the Kings began five years ago, with an idea and a competition among 126 artists conceptualizing what would become a memorial to MLK. The finished product features the Kings’ entwined arms, inspired by the photo of the couple smiling together moments after winning the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964.

An interfaith procession through the Boston Public Garden and Boston Common was part of the opening. Rabbi Michael Shire said the Jewish community aligns with the Kings’ movement, just as Rabbi Abraham Heschel did when he marched with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from Selma to Montgomery in 1965.

Embrace Boston CEO Imari Paris Jeffries said ahead of the ceremony that it’s the meaning behind the actual hug that he hopes will resonate with the people who experience it.

“We wanted to get away from this version of statues of great people and we wanted people to imagine that those are their arms, those are the arms of someone who has hugged them, those are the arms of someone they want to hug, have hugged,” he said. Paris Jeffries “It’s a monument to honor the Kings and those other leaders, but it’s also a monument to all of us.”

The 22-foot-tall bronze sculpture, set in a circular granite plaza, is much more than a monument to the life and legacy of MLK. The monument plaza also commemorates 65 names of other Boston leaders.

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