Picture of the Embrace Memorial.
Community Event

The Power of Memorials and Public Art: Complex Histories and Legacies Today

We will begin with an optional visit to The Embrace, before heading to the Boston Park Plaza for a conversation about memorials and public memory.

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Boston, MA

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Join Facing History & Ourselves for a special community event celebrating Boston’s newest memorial, The Embrace. This memorial, dedicated to Martin Luther King Jr. and Coretta Scott King, is located on Freedom Plaza where the names of local civil rights activists are honored. This convening will examine the myriad ways that monuments and memorials can help shape future generations’ understanding of history. Together we will explore how artists and communities make choices about what aspects of a particular history are told, and how monuments and memorials can inspire activism and justice.  

The event will begin with a visit to The Embrace for those who wish to view it in person, before heading to the Boston Park Plaza for a conversation with Eve L. Ewing, L'Merchie Frazier, Sarah Elizabeth Lewis, and Michael Murphy.

When & Where

Monday, May 1, 2023
4:00 PM - Group visit to The Embrace
5:30 PM - Reception & Conversation at The Boston Park Plaza

The Embrace Memorial
139 Tremont St. Boston MA 02108

Boston Park Plaza
50 Park Plaza at Arlington Street, Boston, MA 02116-3912

Featured Speakers

Eve L. Ewing

Sociologist of Education and award-winning author

Portrait of Eve L. Ewing

L’Merchie Frazier

Executive Director of Creative/Strategic Planning for SPOKE Arts

Portait of L'Merchie Frazier

Sarah Elizabeth Lewis

Associate Professor at Harvard University and Founder of Vision & Justice

Portrait of Sarah Lewis.

Michael Murphy

Architect, Artist, & Educator

Portrait of Michael Murphy


“We are at a pivotal point in our society that calls for heightened attention toward the transformative impact of monuments and memorials. Worldwide, memory and history in built form—memorials, monuments, museums, street names, plaques, historic preservation markers—carry a responsibility to communicate complex histories and provide spaces for healing. The construction of public memory lends weight to particular narratives, bringing us to ask: Who or what is deemed important? Whose voices are we hearing, and who is left out?”
– Mass Design Public Memory and Memorials Lab


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