Martin Luther King III, the eldest son of civil rights leaders Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, defended a new monument that honors his parents following criticism of the recently unveiled sculpture.
The monument, which is called “The Embrace,” represents the hug Dr. King and Coretta Scott King shared after he won the Nobel Peace Price in 1964. The $10 million bronze sculpture, designed by Hank Willis Thomas and MASS Design Group, has garnered mixed reactions since its unveiling last week in the Boston Common.
King III told CNN’s Don Lemon on Monday, which marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day, that he thought “the artist did a great job,” despite criticism that the monument only depicts his parents’ disembodied arms.
“I’m satisfied,” King III said. “Yeah, it didn’t have my mom and dad’s images but it represents something that brings people together. And in this day and age, when there’s so much division, we need symbols that talk about bringing us together.”
King III also said that he was “moved” by the artwork.
“It’s personal for me,” King III added, noting that, had his parents never met in Boston, “maybe I wouldn’t be here. So I’m grateful, number one, that it talks about the love story.”
King III concluded by telling Lemon he was happy that the monument represents his mother.
“Many monuments are done just around dad,” he said. “But it represents the kind of relationship they had working together, and they were a partnership.”
Other relatives of Dr. King and Coretta Scott King have not been so kind in their appraisals.
Seneca Scott, a cousin of Coretta Scott King, has shared his dislike of the statue with several outlets, going as far as to say, “melt it down,” on Twitter.
“I still can’t get over how they tried to play my fam,” Scott wrote in another tweet.
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