A few years ago, after learning that less than 8% of all public statues in the US are of women, Hulu commissioned artist Saya Woolfalk to create three new public monuments representing the contributions of historic women – Coretta Scott King in Atlanta, Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Miami, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg in Los Angeles – in an effort to help bridge the gender gap in public art. Over the past couple of years, the team at Hulu, Saya, city officials in Atlanta, Miami, and Los Angeles, and estate representatives have worked tirelessly to bring the Made by Her: Monuments project to life.
On April 27, The King Center hosted a very special event to unveil The Coretta Scott King Monument. To commemorate what would have been her 96th birthday, family and friends gathered together for a morning of celebration and reflection, including remarks from Woolfalk, alongside Dr. Bernice A. King, and poet Pearl Cleage, as well as performances by Victory Brinker and Tony and two-time Grammy Award Winner Jennifer Holliday.
“When Hulu approached me about this project in 2019, I was honored to take it on,” Woolfalk said. “I have worked across both public art and museum spaces, and have always thought of my work as a fusion of history and possible futures. In all of my projects I think about how to make what we want for the future a reality. What better way to do that than by commemorating three of the most iconic women in our nation’s history – starting with Coretta Scott King?”
Located in The Coretta Scott King Peace and Meditation Garden on the grounds of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change in Atlanta, Woolfalk said, “I was so honored when Dr. Bernice King requested it be installed on the sacred grounds of The King Center, where visitors from all over the world can think about Mrs. King’s contributions to our nation.” The monument features a lectern in the center of the structure – a nod to the way that Mrs. King was most frequently depicted, photographed behind a podium, speaking to large crowds of people.
Visitors to the monument will be surrounded by a rose pattern, inspired by the Coretta Scott King rose, a hybrid that was named for her. Around the dome are the words: EMPATHY, CHANGE, FREEDOM, JUSTICE, PEACE COMPASSION, LIBERTY, RIGHTS, TRUTH, and COMMUNITY, and a quote from Mrs. King can be seen from within: “WOMEN, IF THE SOUL OF THE NATION IS TO BE SAVED, I BELIEVE THAT YOU MUST BECOME ITS SOUL.”
The monuments for Marjory Stoneman Douglas and Ruth Bader Ginsburg, in Miami and Los Angeles respectively, will be unveiled in the coming months and are similarly designed, meant to embody the spirit and ideals of each woman, rather than a physical portrayal of their likeness.