The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Living Memorial Project was established on August 5, 2016, the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s historic 1966 march through Chicago’s Marquette Park. Recalling the larger legacy of the march – and remembering the struggle for justice and equity – is more urgent now than ever in our city, across our nation and around the world. For more than a decade, high school students, community organizers, public officials and religious leaders from all walks of life worked towards building Chicago’s very first memorial honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The MLK Living Memorial was designed and constructed by Sonja Henderson and Jon Pounds of the Chicago Public Art Group.
The project was designed by the Chicago Public Art Group (CPAG), and was unveiled at a public ceremony in Marquette Park on Friday, August 5, 2016.
On August 6, the Takin’ It to the Streets festival was held in Marquette Park to celebrate the MLK legacy with artists from across the globe.
The Beloved Community Ceramic Arts Studio. After the completion of the MLK Living Memorial, its construction site was converted into the Beloved Community Ceramic Arts Studio, a ceramics laboratory for local artists and community members. The Beloved Community studio is the first of its kind in the area; an artisan workshop that allows residents to convene, collaborate and create one-of-a-kind crafts that can be sold to fuel local commerce and inspire entrepreneurship.
A Youth Policy and Leadership Fellowship Program, placing over a dozen young leaders of tomorrow in organizations or with campaigns working in the spirit of Dr. King to address disparities and injustice in our communities.
While recognizing the historic importance of the 1966 Marquette Park march, the MLK Living Memorial leverages that moment to energize and inspire communities across the city and country to remember King’s message and continue working for genuine social justice.
The Inner-City Muslim Action Network (IMAN), a community organization based in Marquette Park for the last 20 years, has played a leadership role in the creation and maintenance of the MLK Living Memorial. IMAN coordinated a diverse group of organizations, institutions and individuals to advance the Memorial project and its goals. A Planning Committee helped to raise funds to complete the project and oversee a series of related initiatives, special programming and events to commemorate the impact that Dr. King had in Chicago.