By Rosaland Tyler
New Journal and Guide
A monument that honors the late Coretta Scott King was unveiled in Atlanta, at the King Center’s Peace and Meditation Garden on April 27.
The new 15-foot monument includes her trademark quotes, as well as a steel chapel dome, mosaic floors, and bronze microphones designed by sculptor Saya Woolfalk. Mrs. King launched the King Center in 1968, after her husband was assassinated, and his corpse was delivered by a horse-drawn carriage to Southview Cemetery.
“The magnitude of her contributions to humanity are yet to be known,” said the Rev. Dr. Bernice King, who serves as the CEO of Atlanta’s King Center. “Today’s dedication of this monument is but a beginning. There’s much more to come, and when her legacy is fully revealed, we will know that because of her, because of Mom, because of Coretta Scott King, the dream lives and the legacy continues.”
Mrs. King’s statue in Atlanta is not like an earlier controversial statue called “The Embrace,” designed by sculptor Hank Willis Thomas. This monument in Boston contains a mix of limbs and arms that sparked controversy and ridicule when it was unveiled in January 2023. The Atlanta monument includes a reflective garden, a stone-paved area flanked by benches and flower beds that lead up to the monument. It is located near the eternal flame that burns next to the pool that surrounds the crypt that holds the corpses of Dr. King and his wife.
The new monument in Atlanta aims to convey peace and total tranquility. It contains a live microphone that allows visitors “to speak their own words and commitments to civil rights and nonviolence.”
The monument cites few details about Mrs. King who was an aspiring vocalist when she met the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., while she was enrolled at Boston’s New England Conservatory of Music.
Born in Marion, Ala, to entrepreneurs in 1927, Coretta Scott King married after she had earned an undergraduate degree in music at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and was awarded a scholarship to further her music studies at the New England Conservatory of Music. After earning a degree there, she joined her husband, then the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery.
In a recent statement on the King Center website, the Rev. Dr. Bernice King said her mother’s legacy was a “God-given assignment. She used faith, grace, elegance, strategy, intention and love to raise a nation on the brink of self-destruction while also raising her four children to not harbor hate, bitterness, and resentment but to let love lead.”