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The Black Boston Commons marketplace MLK Memorial explainer
BlackBostonCommons.com offers a marketplace for ideas, products and services. Here's what we know about the Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King public memorial project. The timing is perfect. Boston does not want to own image a SNL comics gave by naming it the most racist city in America. Memorials have inspired people to take up Hercules sized ambitions. White Nationalists have rallied at their loved memorials. Blacks worship the memorials of African American heroes and sheroes. There is a Jewish Holocaust Memorial in Boston, a monument of Phyllis Wheatley and Mayor Kevin White. There are Revolutionary War era memorials and memorabilia everywhere. Americans have a physical need to share the oxygen of relevance. The emotional well-being of a city will not be good until most of its people believe there is hope.
Richard Allen, Founder
African Methodist Episcopal Church
in front of Mother Bethel
of Philadelphia, PA
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Will Boston Common be the location for the installation? It is too early to tell. Boston Common is known for its central location. When Bostonians have nothing to do, they go to Boston Common and sit there. Cute bronze ducklings, the Frog Pond ice skating rink and a children's playground watched over closely by parents and au pairs hug the State House side. Open fields for baseball and softball games, green space for Tai Chi seniors and power excercisers, the park benches, walking paths and old historical artifacts surround ponds and trees that seem to be there in the right places.
Tourists get their Boston bearings when standing on Boston Common ground. Observe them as they pour over their printed maps and smartphone apps. Watch as they figure out their next move. Joggers and dog walkers would sorely miss Boston Common and the Public Gardens if they were not there.
The history of Boston Common gave Boston world stage relevance. This would rise if an impressive new Martin Luther King, Jr. and Corretta Scott King memorial installation were put there. It could be the most impressive memorial to him north of Washington, D. C.
Boston Common's role in fostering freedom of speech and art is unimpeachable. Political views from all sides are openly expressed. Artists from theater, symphony orchestras, hip hop and rap, jazz, classical musicians and performers of all kinds can be seen at work on the Common.
A worthy topic being explored across Boston is Racism, past and present. View Globe Spotlight Conversations on Racism in Boston at the Facebook group.
The MLKBOSTON RFP
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A new King memorial will improve Boston's status as a destination city for tourists and conventioneers. The Boston Convention and Visitor's Bureau, the Boston Chamber, the City of Boston and the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism may feel its impact right after its grand unveiling.
Convincing Black travelers to come to Boston has been a challenge in the past. The city is learning how to cope with it now. Yet, it fails to play up its African-American owned hotels and has lacked the know how to direct Black tourism trade to Black-owned businesses. The are 138,000 African Americans who live in Boston.
It was not so long ago, 2011 to be exact, when the National Urban League brought 6,000 middle-class African Americans to hotels in the city. Shortly after they left, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Society of Black Engineers held annual conference meets in Boston. Between those three organizations are about 20,000 blacks. A tourist visiting Boston spends more than $1,200 a week on shopping, food and activities in addition to the cost of their lodging.
A successful MLK memorial is a useful investment for City of Boston. There is money to be lost when Boston fails to attract a sizable number of Black visitors. For example, Black travelers contributed $676 million dollars to the City of Philadephia's economy in 2016. We've seen numbers reported by a research bureau working for Massachusetts that said the state receives 400,000 African American visitors in Massachusetts each year. The African American visitor's dollar contribution to the city's economy is a valuable amount of cash. There are 138,000 African American in Boston. 100,000 more are of African, Jamaica, Haitian, Caribbean descent. The Boston Proper regional population nears 350,000 Black people.