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Morton Scott Enslin to Chester M. Alter

Enslin, Morton S. (Crozer Theological Seminary)
December 14, 1950
Martin Luther King, Jr. - Education


Enslin wrote this letter of recommendation in support of King’s application to the School of Theology at Boston University.

Dean Chester M. Alter1
Boston University Graduate School
725 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston 15, Massachusetts

Dear Dean Alter:

One of our seniors, Martin L. King, Jr., tells me that he has made application for admission to Boston University for graduate work upon completion of his work and the reception of his B.D. from Crozer. He also intimated that a letter from me to your office would be appreciated. I am very glad to be able to recommend Mr. King without qualification for admission to graduate work with an eye to an eventual doctorate. He has proved himself to be a very competent student, conscientious, industrious, and with more than usual insight. He has had several courses with me and in each of them has done able work. He is president of the Student Government and has conducted himself well in this position. The fact that with our student body largely Southern in constitution a colored man should be elected to and be popular {in} such a position is in itself no mean recommendation. Unless I am greatly in error, he will go far in his profession. The comparatively small number of forward-looking and thoroughly trained negro leaders is, as I am sure you will agree, still so small that it is more than an even chance that one as adequately trained as King will find ample opportunity for useful service. He is entirely free from those somewhat annoying qualities which some men of his race acquire when they find themselves in the distinctly higher percent of their group. So far as his moral character is concerned there is no need of any qualification, at least so far as I know, and I think that very few details of that sort escape me. Accordingly I recommend him with distinct pleasure to you for serious consideration for admission to Boston University.

Very sincerely,
Morton S. Enslin


1. Chester M. Alter (1906–) taught in Indiana public school systems from 1923 to 1925. He studied at Harvard University from 1929 until 1933, earning his Ph.D. in chemistry in 1936. Alter was a professor at Boston University from 1934 to 1953, acting dean of the graduate school from 1944 to 1945, and dean from 1945 to 1953. He became chancellor of the University of Denver in 1953 and remained there until 1967.


CRO, NRCR, Crozer Theological Seminary Records, Colgate-Rochester Divinity School, Rochester, N.Y.