Benjamin Elijah Mays

( 1884 - 1984 )

How it all started

Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays was born on August 1, 1894 in Epworth, South Carolina. He was the youngest out of eight children, born to Louvenia Carter and Hezekiah Mays, who were tenant farmers and former slaves. After some struggle in his childhood and adulthood he gained acceptance to Bates College in Maine. Mays completed his B.A. there in 1920.


How school started his career

Mays entered the University of Chicago as a graduate student, earning an M.A in 1925. He earned his P.h.D. in the School of Religion in 1935. In the spring of 1935 Benjamin E. Mays accepted a position as dean of School of Religion at Howard University in Washington, D.C. While he was a student in Chicago, he met his future wife, Sadie Gray. They were married for 42 years into her death in 1969.


Life and Career

In 1940, Dr. Mays became the president of Morehouse College. His most famous student was Martin Luther King Jr. They both developed a close relationship that continued until Dr. King’s death in 1968. He delivered the eulogy at his funeral. Dr. Mays joined in some organizations like NAACP, the International YMCA, the Urban League and others. Also, Mays was a Baptist minister and became pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. When Mays retired he made many speeches and wrote many books. Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays died in Atlanta on March 28,1984. He and his wife are buried on the campus of Morehouse College.