Mel and Joyce King honored with 2016 Community Advocacy Award

February 13, 2017

Eastern Bank honors Melvin "Mel" King and Joyce King with the 2016 Community Advocacy Award

BOSTON, February 10, 2016 – Eastern Bank recently honored Melvin H. “Mel” King and Joyce King with the bank’s 2016 Community Advocacy Award, which annually recognizes the region’s best community leaders.

Held in honor of Black History Month at the Museum of African American History in Boston, the award ceremony recognized Mel King and Joyce King, each, with their own award. The Boston couple was recognized for their lifelong dedication to community activism, which includes efforts to support affordable housing in urban neighborhoods and for advocating on behalf of local youth in the areas of education, the economy and social freedom.

“Mel and Joyce King’s distinguished record of accomplishments in the areas of progressive change and activism is unrivaled in the Greater Boston community,” said Eastern Bank President and COO Bob Rivers. “Mel’s 1983 bid for Boston mayor helped spawn the National Rainbow Coalition party and unified Boston’s fractured African-American community. Meanwhile, Joyce’s work with a variety of local organizations strengthened the rights of women and girls. Local residents today have a say in education policies and community development thanks to the collective efforts led by Mel and Joyce King.”

Mel King served as a Massachusetts State Representative for a decade (1973-1982) and was the first, and only, African-American to run in a final election bid for Mayor of Boston. While he lost the mayoralty to Raymond Flynn, Mel King’s campaign was extremely powerful and influential. Mayor Flynn adopted many of King’s policies, including engagement with local developers to encourage affordable housing, and emphasizing greater diversity in all areas of government.

In 1981, Mel King documented the history of Boston’s African-American community in his book Chain of Change: Struggles for Black Community Development. He has participated in several protests and sit-ins, one of which resulted in the development of Tent City, an affordable family-oriented apartment building in the Back Bay. He is widely known for his advocacy for Boston families and was recognized for his work as a former director at the New Urban League of Greater Boston.

Joyce King, an activist and educator, is described by her peers as a “quiet, warm and humble force in family, education, and community building.” She served as a former director of the YWCA Boston’s Aswalos House Transitional Housing Program, enabling young homeless mothers to become self-sufficient members of their community. She was also a board chair at the Boston Women’s Fund, a foundation that supports the rights and social freedoms of women and girls.

The couple has been married for over 64 years and every Sunday, since 1969, they have opened their home to the public for brunch where no topic is off limits for discussion and exploration.

About Eastern Bank
Founded in 1818 and based in Boston, Eastern Bank is the largest and oldest mutual bank in the country, with $9.6 billion in assets and nearly 100 branches serving communities in eastern Massachusetts and southern and coastal New Hampshire. Eastern Bank offers banking, investments and insurance all under one roof, and prides itself on working harder to understand its customers’ needs so it can deliver these services in a committed and personal way. Eastern Bank, which includes Eastern Bank Wealth Management and Eastern Insurance, is a recognized leader in corporate social responsibility and for its advocacy on behalf of a number of social justice causes.

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