10. Marsh Plaza, Boston University

Street Address: 735 Commonwealth Avenue

Nearest Corner: Commonwealth and St. Mary’s Street

Digital & Degree Coordinates: 42.350400,-71.106650; N42 21.024 W71 06.399

View Martin Luther King Sculpture. On Marsh Plaza in front of the chapel, you can see an inspiring sculptural tribute to his famous words, Free At Last.  Martin Luther King, Jr. came to Boston University in 1951, searching for a multicultural community and a setting for his study of ethics and philosophy. He became “Dr. King” by earning a Ph.D. in systematic theology here in 1955.
During these years, Howard Thurman was dean of the University’s Marsh Chapel. Dean since 1953; he was the first African-American to be appointed to such a position in any of the nation’s large university systems. King not only attended sermons there but also turned to Thurman as his mentor and spiritual advisor. Among the lessons that inspired him most were Thurman’s accounts of a visit to Mohandas Gandhi in India years earlier. It was Thurman who educated King in the mahatma’s ideas of nonviolent protest. As the bridge between Gandhi and King, BU’s progressive dean helped sow the seeds of change in the U.S. and beyond.

The Boston University library houses thousands of King’s personal papers and correspondence.