Martin Luther King Jr. memorial will be established in Massachusetts House chamber

The memorial will commemorate the 1965 speech delivered by the civil rights leader to state legislators.

Boston, MA - 4/22/1965: Martin Luther King, Jr. addresses the Mass. legislation during his visit to Boston on April 22, 1965. Dr. King led a march through the city to protest segregated housing conditions and racially imbalanced schools, and spoke at Boston Common and the State House during his visit. (Paul Connell/Globe Staff) --- BGPA Reference: 160126_MJ_026
Martin Luther King, Jr. addresses the Mass. Legislature during his visit to Boston on April 22, 1965. –Paul Connell/Boston Globe, File

A memorial to Martin Luther King Jr. will be established in the House Chamber of the Massachusetts Legislature to commemorate the speech the civil rights leader delivered at the State House in 1965.

Gov. Charlie Baker signed the bill Tuesday to establish the memorial, which will consist of a plaque with text of a portion of King’s speech to the Legislature, in which he urged lawmakers and the public alike to do more to create a just society. 

”I look at it as progress,” Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus member Rep. Bud Williams, who filed the proposal in early 2019, told MassLive of the signing of the bill. “We’ve made one step … a step toward creating a new history.”


Senate President Karen Spilka celebrated the bill signing on social media.

“The words of Dr. Martin Luther King have never been more important, especially as we embark on the hard work of dismantling systemic racism by reforming our system, shifting our resources and building a more equitable and just Commonwealth,” she said in a statement after the bill was passed in the senate in July. 

According to the law, the superintendent of the bureau of the State House, subject to the approval of the State House Art Commission, will install and maintain the memorial in a “suitable space” in the House chamber. The art commission is charged with consulting with the House Rules Committee and the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus in determining the form of the memorial. 

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