7th Annual MLK Celebration Keynote

7th Annual MLK Celebration Keynote

Samuel D. Proctor

Professor, Graduate School at Rutgers University

Senior Minister, Abyssinian Baptist Church, New York City

Samuel Proctor
Source: The Samuel D. Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, and Justice, Rutgers University

Rev. Samuel D. Proctor was the first person selected to deliver the newly created Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Lecture at MIT in 1981, "King: What Progress Since the Dream?" At the time, he was a professor in the Graduate School at Rutgers University and Senior Minister at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City. His well-received keynote led to an invitation as opening keynote for the First National Conference on Issues Facing Black Administrators at Predominately White Colleges and Universities, held at MIT in 1982. In 1987, he was once again invited to MIT to deliver the keynote for the 13th Annual MLK Celebration.

Rev. Proctor met Martin Luther King Jr. while giving a lecture at the Crozer Theological Seminary in 1950; they later became colleagues and close friends. 

In 1969, Proctor was invited to speak on the one-year anniversary of MLK’s assassination at Rutgers University. Impressed by the event, Rutgers administrators offered Proctor an appointment as the newly established Martin Luther King Distinguished Professor of Education. 



Samuel Proctor ​(left) with MIT President Paul Edward Gray (center) and Clarence G. Williams, Special Assistant to the President and Acting Director of the Office of Minority Education, 1981. Photo: Calvin Campbell, MIT News Office​. Courtesy MIT Museum