The Friends is pleased to announce that our nation’s oldest park, Boston Common, has been chosen as the home for a memorial dedicated to the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife, Coretta Scott King. The local non-profit, MLK Boston, has been working with the City of Boston since September 2017 in a public and transparent process to thoroughly and thoughtfully plan for this memorial. The Friends attended some of the 14 public hearings held throughout the city. In addition to the memorial, there are important educational initiatives planned for Roxbury, with new, innovative programming bringing Dr. King’s legacy to life.
Public art greatly enhances our public spaces. With over 40 pieces of public art — from plaques to major pieces of sculpture — across Boston Common, the Public Garden and Commonwealth Ave Mall, we see every day the power of art to inspire, educate, and provoke thought and dialogue. Done right, the addition of the MLK memorial will enhance not just Boston Common, but our city as a whole, with its artistic expression of social justice, resilience, and moral courage. Five artists and teams have been selected by MLK Boston to develop proposals, and their renderings will be displayed at the Boston Public Library for the month of September, 2018. The winner, who will be commissioned to build the memorial, will be announced in November. The final location of the memorial on Boston Common has not been determined, but the Friends along with the Parks Department will be deeply engaged as the project progresses.
The Friends has met with the leaders of MLK Boston to discuss their vision for the memorial, and will continue to do so throughout the upcoming phases of this project. We thank Mayor Walsh, Paul English, and MLK Boston for advocating for this important memorial and look forward to working alongside them to ensure that the location on the Common is in keeping with the significance of the monument and is well integrated into the park, for centuries Boston’s center stage of civic life.