Taking Part in the Fight for Freedom

Taking Part in the Fight for Freedom

King Scholarship winner drew inspiration from anti-slavery campaign

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

Ask Rufus L. Caine III '03 about his most profound achievement in two-and-a-half years at Boston College, and he will tell a story that began half a world away.


University President William P. Leahy, SJ, and Martin Luther King Scholarship winner Rufus L. Caine III '03. (Photo by Justin Knight)
Last fall, Caine attended a lecture given by 21-year-old Francis Bok, who spent part of his life as a slave in Africa. While Caine had heard press accounts of modern-day slavery in nations like the Sudan and Chad, Bok's description of the horrors he had known had an unexpected impact.
"I was taken aback by the things he was saying," said Caine, a native of Hackensack, NJ. "I questioned what I could do to help so many who suffered so greatly. I was just a college student from New Jersey."

But when he remembered lessons learned from studying the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr., Caine quickly realized that he had the means and the ability to stand up for Bok and others who had suffered from the effects of slavery. After researching the issue, Caine took his mission to the Undergraduate Government of Boston College and the larger Boston College community.

The result was last year's UGBC-organized "Fight for Freedom" campaign, an effort that helped spark awareness on campus and also raised more than $13,000 for an organization founded by Bok that seeks to buy freedom for Sudanese slaves.

"Under the direction of a dedicated few we were able to change the lives of so many people in Sudan," recalled Caine, who said that the money raised was enough to free 400 people.

It was for efforts like this that Caine was honored at the Feb. 19 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Committee Awards Banquet [see above]. The scholarship, which covers three-quarters of the student's tuition for senior year, is given annually to a Boston College junior whose achievements reflect the spirit of the slain civil rights leader.

Along with his work on "Fight for Freedom," Caine has been busy inside and outside the classroom at BC. A philosophy and political science major in the College of Arts and Sciences Honors Program, he has served the past three years in the Undergraduate Government of Boston College. A member of the Voices of Imani Gospel choir and an alumnus of the Shaw Leadership Program, Caine has been active in several community service and social justice initiatives, including an AIDS education program called "Bridging the Gap."

Caine said he hopes to continue to fight for the freedom of others. After graduation next year, he plans to attend law school with the goal of becoming a civil rights attorney.

"I've learned that you have stand up and you have to take up the fight for others," said Caine. "It's the only way to be a leader."

 

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