"This sculpture is a fitting and timely tribute to Atlanta's son."

By Meghan Overdeep
January 15, 2021
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Credit: City of Atlanta/Mayor’s Office of Communications

The city of Atlanta welcomed a new bronze sculpture of civil rights icon Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Thursday. The installation, titled "Hope Moving Forward," is located at the intersection of Northside Drive and Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive near Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The 12-foot sculpture is part of the city's MLK Innovation Corridor Project. It is the first of seven installations commissioned to honor the legacy and global influence of the Atlanta native.

"This sculpture is a fitting and timely tribute to Atlanta's son, Dr. King," Mayor Bottoms said in a news release. "Atlanta is the cradle of the Civil Rights movement and is the birth home and final resting place of Dr. King.  Erecting this sculpture underscores our administration's commitment to creating our vision of One Atlanta while celebrating Dr. King's dream of a beloved community. Both aspire to create societies based on justice, equal opportunity, and love of one's fellow human beings."

"Thank you to all who had a role in creating this tribute sure to inspire generations of Atlantans."

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The monument, which pays tribute to "Dr. King's walk toward peace and equality for all people," is the work of internationally renowned Jamaican-born sculptor Basil Watson. His sculpture proposal was selected out of 80 applicants.

In a statement, Watson shared that his design concept was inspired by MLK's message of unconditional love, and one quote in particular: "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; Only love can do that."

The latter half of the quote— "Hate cannot drive out hate; Only love can do that" is engraved on the statue's six-foot pedestal.