(Interview and field reporting by Anne Eller, WLMA in Greenwood)
On Tuesday afternoon, hundreds turned out for the dedication of the Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site in Greenwood.
Mays was born in 1894 in Epworth to parents who were ex-slaves. He served as president of Atlanta’s Morehouse College from 1940 to 1967. He was an adviser to three U.S. presidents. During his tenure at Morehouse, Mays inspired a young Martin Luther King, Jr. to go into the ministry. Lcoal and national dignitaries gathered for Tuesday’s dedication, including former U.N. Ambassador and Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young, who delivered the keynote address. In an interview with Greenwood affiliate WLMA, Young said Dr. Mays inspired many to greatness.
Young, in an interview with WLMA’s Anne Eller, remembered fondly the times he spent in the presence of Dr. Mays. Young says Mays’ love of learning and passion for service was contagious.
There are three parts to the site: the century-old cabin where Mays was born and raised; a museum that chronicles Mays’ life and contains his speeches and books; and the old Burns Springs School where Mays was taught as a child.
Dr. Mays, who was also a Baptist minister, passed away in 1984.