In 1984 Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, was inducted into the South Carolina Hall of Fame. Mays was the son of a sharecropper.
Hays is known as the president of Morehouse College, an all-male HBCU in Atlanta, Georgia. He was at Morehouse for 27 years. He was president of another HBCU Howard University’s School of Religion.
Mays lived in an era where aiming for your dreams was looked down upon. His father was not supportive of his son leaving the farm to be educated. Mays went on to received his M.A. and doctorate from the University of Chicago. It has been reported that his greatest honor was to teach one of the greatest orators in American history – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Mays was very vocal. He criticized white liberals who spoke about racial equality but their actions spoke the opposite. He was also very critical of black organizations such as the Black Panther party.
At the hall of fame ceremony, one of his students, Julian Bonds stated: I am kneeling before a giant. Making friends of enemies has been a lifelong goal of Benjamin Hays.