Boston is a special place to celebrate Dr. King’s life and legacy. King considered Boston his second home, the city where he met his wife Coretta Scott King and where he earned his Ph.D. in Theology from Boston University while living on Mass Ave.
The Roxbury Love Story mural by local artists Pro Blak and GoFive was unveiled in the fall of 2020. Roxbury is where Dr. King was an assistant minister at the Twelfth Baptist Church, it is the specific neighborhood where he and Coretta met, and also where he began a historic Boston march in 1965, a procession that culminated on Boston Common where Dr. King delivered an inspiring and iconic speech. The GBCVB interviewed the artists, @gofive and @problak, to tell us a little more about the inspiration and making of the mural.
What was the inspiration for this mural and how did the creative process play out?
The inspiration for this mural was based on the story of how Martin and Corretta met and were active with Twelfth Baptist church that used to be located at the site where the mural currently lives. There were a few conversations and rough drafts proposed for the walls located on Shawmut Ave facilitated with my family at Black Market. When a decision was made the weather got bad and pushed the production time out to be done with better weather. During that delay Gofive and I had revisited the design for good measure for him to deliver the "Hero" of this composition which was the placement of the telephone between them to make that visual connection with a touch of a classic damask pattern behind them. The colors drew inspiration from the middle school named after Dr.King and hold the warm influence that their Love story could have to anyone who observes it.
What are your personal feelings on the legacy of MLK in Boston, and specifically Roxbury, and how our city was the backdrop for his formative years as a young minister and student?
I definitely think that His belief in nourishing every person, community, and the transformation of culture is something that is still felt 52 years later with the people of Roxbury.
My personal feelings on MLK's legacy in our city is something that's not personal in feeling, it was personal in impact. I learned a great deal about MLK and what he stood for at the middle school I am alumni of named after him. The phrase we adapted into our everyday as a young person is "The King School United Could Never Be Defeated!" I carry that with me like a precious gem. For Boston to serve as a backdrop for him means he left something here for us to pick up and follow. I stand proud to know that our city is rich with this level of history.
Do you expect the King Boston Center for Economic Justice to have a public art component and ideally what would that look like?
My expectations are realistic, I would honestly just need it to exist and have whatever fits that makes sense and speaks to longevity. I would need this center to exist long enough for it to be a resource to my daughter and other children who are growing up in a city full of historical accolades influenced by a black family.
Do either of you have additional plans to celebrate Dr. King's legacy in Boston through public art and expression?
This is the second portrait of Dr. King I have worked on in Roxbury. First, one being at Madison Park T.V. High School and this one on Shawmut ave. As of right now, I don’t have any plans, but If an opportunity ever comes up I would definitely do it again.
No real additional plans, I just want to continue his Legacy's influence through my practice and the way I raise my family.
For over 250 years Roxbury has been an essential ingredient in the story of Boston as a pioneering...