About the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Committee

Our Mission is to educate the Boston College Community about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, dream of social justice and equality.

The Committee continues to work toward that goal by sponsoring programs intended to help the Boston College community eradicate racism of all kinds through working toward understanding, appreciating, and celebrating its cultural diversity.

In addition, the Committee strives to honor Dr. King's memory by recognizing and encouraging the development of future leadership at Boston College through a scholarship in his name.

The Committee annually co-sponsors the following events on campus. We sponsor them with funding and with participation by our Scholarship recipient as well as members of the committee.

  • Black History Month
  • Black Family Weekend
  • Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Gathering
  • The Unity Breakfast sponsored by The Black Faculty, Staff, and Administration Association (BFSAA)


Committee Officers

The Committee meets the third Tuesday of each month September to May, at 12:00 p.m. in St. Mary's Hall. In light of the coronavirus pandemic, all Fall 2020 meetings will be virtual.  Membership is drawn from all areas of the University community. If you are interested in joining the committee please contact our chairs, Richard Paul or Rafael Luna.

Steering committee members are voting members of the MLK Committee. The Committee invites membership from the Boston College community. Interested people may approach any member of the Steering Committee.


2020-2021 Officers




Rafael Luna Karen Livingston Rossanna Contreras-Godfrey
Richard Paul    

Scholarship Co-Chairs

Joe Burns    
Michael Davidson, S.J.    

Steering Committee Members

Karl Bell
Joe Burns
Rossanna Contreras-Godfrey
Danielle Date
Michael Davidson, S.J.
Ismael Ben Fofana
Yonder Gillihan
Agnes Jordan
Karen Livingston
Rafael Luna
Susan Michalczyk
Adrienne Nussbaum
Richard Paul
Mary Troxell
Anya Villatoro
Thomas Wesner
Vaughn Williams


The work of the Committee is carried out in the various subcommittees listed below:

  • Scholarship Subcommittee awards an annual scholarship of up to $19,000 toward senior year tuition to a junior who exemplifies the ideals of Dr. King through academic excellence and community service. Other finalists will each receive a $3,000 tuition scholarship.
  • Ceremony Subcommittee coordinates the annual ceremony held in February to recognize the scholarship finalists and to announce the recipient.
  • Advanced Study Grants were established to encourage, support, and give visible recognition to first- and second-year students who wish to do scholarly research. The Advanced Study Grants are for student-designed projects. The MLK Jr. Advanced Study Grants are offered to selected students whose proposals are congruent with the philosophy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and that best exemplify his commitment to social justice and racial equality.

Advanced Study Grants

We Need to be Stewards Of Non-Violence


In the events of recent days and months where mental health, weapons, and loss of massive proportion have affected our lives, we ask each of you to support positions of non-violence at the individual, family, group, and community level.

Background and Significance

Martin Luther King Jr. was an advocate for others on three key components of individual, family, and community challenges:

Poverty—unemployment, homelessness, literacy, physical and mental health, mortality or morbidity, health disparities

Racism—prejudice, apartheid, ethnic conflict, anti-Semitism, sexism, colonialism, homophobia, ageism, discrimination against disabled groups, stereotypes

Violence—war, imperialism, domestic violence, rape, terrorism, human trafficking, media violence, drugs, child abuse, violent crime, bullying, harassment (REF)


We advocate the following positive steps:

  • Know and understand the statistics on gun violence, domestic violence, urban violence, suicide and armed self-defense
  • Consider, encourage and support pragmatic, positive approaches as a way to be constructive in your responses
  • Understand and consider the meaning of a culture of violence and the potential for shaping and enabling behavior
  • Understand the principles and applications for non- violent intervention and mediation
  • Understand the principles of crisis intervention
  • Create a vision of non-violent action as a non-partisan cause or movement
  • Reach out to professionals to bring assistance to those who may appear to be emotionally troubled
  • Discuss any form of discrimination openly to understand the source and solution
  • Never ignore someone’s experience of poverty, racism , or violence
  • Be there for others, advocate directly and openly, and never give up

Historical Reading List

King, Martin Luther, Jr. Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story. New York: Perennial Library, Harper, 1958.

King, Martin Luther, Jr. A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. Edited by James Melvin Washington. San Francisco: Harper, 1986.

King, Martin Luther, Jr. The Trumpet of Conscience. New York: Harper & Row, 1967. Five lectures broadcast in Canada; topics include peace and nonviolence.

King, Martin Luther, Jr. Why We Can't Wait. New York: Harper & Row, 1963.

Garrow, David J. Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Leadership Conference. New York: Morrow, 1986.

King, Coretta Scott. My Life with Martin Luther King, Jr. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1969.

Levering, Ralph. ‘Martin Luther King, Jr.: The Challenge of Inclusive Peacemaking.’ In Peace Heroes in Twentieth-Century America. Edited by Charles DeBenedetti. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1986, pp. 198 - 226.

Lewis, David L. King, a Critical Biography. 2d ed. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1978.

Lokos, Lionel. House Divided; The Life and Legacy of Martin Luther King. New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House, 1968.

Oates, Stephen B. Let the Trumpet Sound. New York: Harper & Row, 1982

Pyatt, Sherman E. Martin Luther King, Jr.: An Annotated Bibliography. New York: Greenwood, 1986.

The Violence of Love by Oscar A. Romero, James R. Brockman and Henri Nouwen

Oscar Romero: Reflections on His Life and Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters Series) by Marie Dennis, Renny Golden and Scott Wright

Romero: A Life by James R. Brockman

Oscar Romero and the Communion of the Saints: A Biography by Scott Wright

Voice of the Voiceless: The Four Pastoral Letters and Other Statements by Oscar Romero, Michael J. Walsh, Jon Sobrino and Ignacio Martin-Baro

History of the Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Committee

In 1979 and 1980, before MLK Day became a national holiday, Donald Brown, Director of AHANA Student Programs, led an effort to have a prayer service in Dr. King's memory. The first service was held on the second floor conference room in McElroy and the second one in Robsham Theater with the participation of several local black ministers. Even though the attendance was relatively small, the stage was set for a more substantial University-wide celebration.

Dr. Brown held informal meetings with several interested faculty and administrators. Among that original group were: Dan Bunch, Director, Learning to Learn; the late John A. Dinneen, S.J., then University Chaplain; the late Amanda Houston, Director, African and African Diaspora Studies; Norman Araujo and Arnold Mazur, who was Director, Health Services. As a result of those meetings, it was decided to schedule a yearly dinner in Dr. King's memory which would feature a noted guest speaker, to begin in 1982. The charter group also agreed to establish a scholarship which would be awarded to a junior of African descent who both exemplified Dr. King's spirit and demonstrated academic excellence.

Funding the scholarship was easier said than done. The Committee's dream was to award a full academic scholarship for the recipient's senior year. In 1982, the award was $500 and in 1983 $1,000. Several people supported the Committee's goals and helped with the funding of the scholarship. Dr. Frank Campanella, Executive Vice President, subsidized the dinner so that a small profit could be added to the scholarship fund. Athletic Director Mr. William Flynn donated proceeds of a Boston College exhibition basketball game to the scholarship fund for several years. Under Dan Bunch's and Howard Enoch's initiative, a yearly play highlighting black culture was staged and the profit was given to the fund. Most notably a gift of $25,000 ($5,000 yearly) was made by the Jesuit Community at Boston College. In 1990, Fr. J. Donald Monan, S.J., then President of Boston College, committed funds to insure a scholarship award equal to 75% of senior year tuition.

Since 1981, the Committee has become widely recognized and the banquet a much anticipated celebration on campus. The Committee has grown over the years with faculty, staff, and administrators from every part of the University playing a role at one time or another.

The goal of the Committee continues to be that of realizing Dr. King's dream of social justice and equality. The Committee has taken on numerous activities in eradicating racism and promoting multi-cultural understanding. Through the P.R.I.D.E. Sub-committee, workshops on prejudice awareness and multi-cultural undertanding have been conducted for individual groups and offices throughout the Boston College community. For several years, the Committee funded participation in a summer program at the King Center in Atlanta, GA, for a graduate or undergraduate student. The program focused on Dr. King's philosophy of non-violence and the experience was shared by the participant with the BC community. Extending itself beyond campus boundaries, the Committee has established the M.L.K., Jr. and Amanda V. Houston Community Service Awards honoring persons in the greater Boston area for their contributions to the community.

The Committee and its work has grown and developed in positive ways. The Archbishop Oscar A. Romero and the Benigno and Corazon Aquino Scholarship were both modeled on the M.L.K., Jr., Memorial Committee Scholarship.

The Committee was established with the goal of enhancing diversity, multi-cultural education, intercultural communication and understanding, and social justice on the Boston College campus. Over the years, the Committee developed a process for awarding a scholarship to a junior student who exemplified the characteristics and commitment of Dr. King. The committee also co-sponsored keynote speaker addresses, discussion groups, dramatic and musical performances, discussions of books and films, and summer study and workshops. Because a shared belief in Dr. King's dream of social justice and equality is so evident on campus, one can expect that the Committee will continue to have a positive impact on the Boston College community.