Dr Benjamin Elijah Mays (Benjamin Elijah Mays)

Dr Benjamin Elijah Mays

Educator, Social Reformer. He served as President of Morehouse College from 1940 to 1967, and was an important mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Under his guidance, “The House” gained an international reputation for excellence in scholarship, leadership and service. He was himself a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Bates College and who earned his Ph.D. at the University of Chicago. During his presidency Morehouse attracted international scholars to its faculty, and fellowships and scholarships for study abroad became available. Through his efforts, Morehouse earned its own chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. In addition to Dr. King, other “Morehouse Men” influenced by Dr. Mays include Lerone Bennet Jr., executive editor of “Ebony” magazine, U.S. congressmen Sanford Bishop Jr., Major R. Owens, and Earl F. Hilliard, state congressman and scholar Julian Bond, U.S. ambassadors Julius Coles, George W. Haley, and Howard E. Jeter, educators Samuel Dubois Cook, Abraham Davis, Michael L. Lomax, Walter E. Massey, M. William Howard, Jr., Leroy Keith, Jr. and Charles Vert Willie, nationally renowned physicians Peter Chatard, Henry W. Foster, Jr., David Satcher and Louis W. Sullivan, businessmen Herman Cain, Nathaniel Hawthorne Bronner, Chester A. Davenport, Robert C. Davidson, Jr., Robert E. Johnson, Arthur E. Johnson, Maceo K. Sloan, Roy Terry and Rudolph Terry, scientists Roderic I. Pettigrew and Donald R. Hopkins, Jr., military leader Lt. Gen. James R. Hall, businessman and former Atlanta mayor Maynard H. Jackson, actor Samuel L Jackson, and athlete Donn Clendenon. After retiring from Morehouse, Dr. Mays served on Atlanta’s Board of Education for 14 years. The Benjamin Mays Center at Bates College is named in his honor. Dr. Mays was first interred in Atlanta’s Southview Cemetery, following his spouse and near many of his prominent friends and colleagues, including Dr. and Mrs. Martin Luther King, Sr. They were subsequently moved to Westview Cemetery to be closer to Morehouse, and later moved to a place of honor on the Morehouse College campus.  Family links:  Spouse:  Sadie Gray Mays (1900 – 1969)


  • August, 01, 1894
  • USA


  • March, 03, 1984
  • USA


  • Westview Cemetery
  • Georgia
  • USA

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