A final design for a memorial to Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King on Boston Common has been unveiled: a pair of bronze arms embracing, designed by artist Hank Willis Thomas.
The memorial is a nod to the Kings' links to Boston: They met through a mutual friend at the Twelfth Baptist Church in Roxbury, where he was also an assistant minister. He earned his doctorate degree at Boston University and she a degree in music education at the New England Conservatory of Music.
But King wasn't the only prominent figure during the Civil Rights Movement with local ties. In a recent column in the Boston Globe, Renée Graham asked: Is it also time for a memorial to Malcolm X?
Yes, said Revs. Irene Monroe and Emmett Price on "All Revved Up," their weekly discussion of race and religion on Boston Public Radio. Monroe is a syndicated religion columnist and the Boston voice for Detour’s African American Heritage Trail, as well as a visiting researcher in the Religion and Conflict Transformation Program at Boston University School of Theology. Price is a professor of Worship, Church and Culture and founding executive director of the Institute for the Study of the Black Christian Experience at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
"He is as close to Boston's native son as you can really think of," Monroe said.
Malcolm X — or Malcolm Little, as he was known in his early life — spent part of his teens and 20s in the Boston area. After being arrested for breaking and entering and larceny, he served out his sentence in a number of Massachusetts jails and prisons, during which time he educated himself using a prison library and first learned about the teachings of the Nation of Islam. Malcolm X later went on to become a regional minister in the Nation of Islam, which included a mosque in Roxbury.
Price said it's time for the city to recognize its connections to Malcolm X as well.
"I think we need to start the process of organizing and creating a little pressure on City Hall," Price said.