Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy continues to inspire legions of people across the globe. His impact is especially felt as many prepare to observe MLK Day on Monday (Jan. 16). The federal holiday has been recognized since 1986.
On Sunday (Jan. 15), President Joe Biden traveled to Atlanta to attend a service at Ebenezer Baptist Church on what would have been Dr. King’s 94th birthday. He is expected to “deliver remarks reflecting on Dr. King’s life and legacy, and the way that we can go forward together,” according to a White House statement. The historic house of worship was once helmed by Dr. King when he co-pastored alongside his father Rev. Martin Luther King, Sr.
On Friday (Jan. 13), a statue commemorating the late civil rights icon and his wife, Coretta Scott King, was unveiled in Boston. The bronze sculpture titled “The Embrace” pays homage to a famous photograph of Dr. King and Coretta hugging after he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. Artist Hank Willis Thomas is the man responsible for bringing to fruition a structure that stands 20 feet tall and 26 feet wide. He was selected out of 125 artists and architects who submitted applications in hopes of being selected for the grand task.
“When I submitted the proposal, I didn’t even think that we really had a chance,” Thomas, 46, told NBC News. “By the time it was approved, I guess I’ve just been on autopilot, like, ‘OK, how do I just not get in the way of history?’ It really has been my mission over the past several years.” Thomas continued, “In that picture, you can see the weight of him on her shoulders as they embrace. And I realized that this was really a metaphor for his legacy — that she carried his legacy on her shoulders for several decades after he was assassinated.” The work of art is just one of the many ways that the activist is remembered.
View some of the other tributes below.
Raphael Warnock on MLK: “When you go to DC today and you go to the mall, you see the monuments to presidents. And among those presidents is a Black man who grew up in the segregated south … what it shows is that anyone of us, if we’re deeply committed … we can have an impact” pic.twitter.com/NnzHshm3k9
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 15, 2023
MLK is not Santa Claus. Dr. @CornelWest shared this wisdom with me years ago. To honor King’s legacy we must do more than reflect on select convenient highlights of his life; we must commit ourselves to the far more difficult work of realizing the fullness of King’s vision. pic.twitter.com/1iHBFXZk05
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) January 15, 2023
Joined White House press briefing to preview @POTUS’ trip to ATL where he’ll speak at Ebenezer. Reminded that we’re beneficiaries of a dream that MLK, Jr didn’t live to see become reality. May we all live our lives so that generations not yet born will be better because of it. pic.twitter.com/o8bcaFuEkh
— Keisha Lance Bottoms (@KeishaBottoms) January 14, 2023
Today is your 94th birthday.
Everything you could have said about the human condition & how to improve it, you said. With courageous action.
Will we see in 2023 that honoring you = more than statues & quotes?
End racism (all inhumane isms)
End militarism pic.twitter.com/ZIohKrT32o
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) January 15, 2023
Happy birthday, Daddy. pic.twitter.com/idmzjNPIEH
— Be A King (@BerniceKing) January 15, 2023
Happy Birthday, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We celebrate you, your love, and your legacy today. The world is better because of your commitment to justice, equity and true peace. #MLK pic.twitter.com/zkZRUCU12B
— The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center (@TheKingCenter) January 15, 2023
One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.
Happy Birthday Dr. King pic.twitter.com/p0K2P95BrX
— Desiree Adaway(she/her) (@desireeadaway) January 15, 2023
I remember my father for the ideals that he held, and I know that if he were here today, he would be proud of our progress, but deeply disappointed by some of our failures. That is why we must continue to fight for peace, justice, and equity. Happy birthday, dad. pic.twitter.com/6KZmNdEQEe
— Martin Luther King III (@OfficialMLK3) January 15, 2023
— Gerald A. Griggs (@AttorneyGriggs) January 15, 2023
Happy 94th birthday, Dr. King.
We miss you every day. 🖤
We remember, honor, and celebrate you today – and we pledge to continue your work to make America a more just, fair, and inclusive nation for all people. Our civil and human rights coalition won’t stop. #MLK pic.twitter.com/MnWKw31MC8
— The Leadership Conference (@civilrightsorg) January 15, 2023
Please read my other tweets about the sculpture—but here is another angle and the photo of the two “The Embrace” is based on. It’s when MLK Jr. found out he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. pic.twitter.com/Q7Vyk7OPKK
— Amaka Ubaka (@AmakaUbakaTV) January 14, 2023