People Who Kick Buts: Benjamin Mays
The tragedy of life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.
- Born on August 1, 1984 and passed away on March 28, 1984.
- Mays was also a significant mentor to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. and was among the most articulate and outspoken critics of segregation before the rise of the modern civil rights movement in the United States.
- Benjamin Elijah Mays was born in 1894 in Ninety Six, South Carolina, the youngest of eight children; his parents were tenant farmers and former slaves. As a child, seeing his father threatened by a white mob on horseback in the aftermath of the Phoenix Election Riot made a deep impression.
- After spending a year at Virginia Union University, he moved north to attend Bates College in Maine, where he obtained his B.A. in 1920, then entered the University of Chicago as a graduate student, earning an M.A. in 1925 and a Ph.D. in the School of Religion in 1935. His education at Chicago was interrupted several times: he was ordained a Baptist minister in 1922 and accepted a pastorate at the Shiloh Baptist Church of Atlanta, then later taught at Morehouse and at South Carolina State College.
- While working on his doctorate, Mays and Joseph Nicholson published a study entitled The Negro’s Church, the first sociological study of the black church in the United States.
- Mays died in Atlanta on March 28, 1984. He was entombed on the campus of Morehouse College.