Written by Chris Thomas, Mays House Curator
The GLEAMNS Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site, in Greenwood, SC, is a historical preservation site and museum honoring the life and legacy of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays. The Site includes the birth home of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, the Burns Spring School from the Epworth area that is identical to the Brickhouse School that Dr. Mays attended as a child, an interpretive museum, and a seven-foot bronze statue of the iconic Civil Rights leader that sits on a four-foot granite base. The museum captures Dr. Mays’ life in over 100 professionally framed photos and contains many of his personal items. The museum also contains a theatre that seats fifty-five, which allows visitors to view films and to hear speeches and sermons by and about Dr. Mays and his extraordinary life.
On November 5th– November 7th, 2021, the GLEAMNS Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site will hold a 10th Anniversary Celebration. All events listed are free and open to the public. The celebration weekend will include an anniversary magazine that will commemorate the life and legacy of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays and, through photographic commemoration, highlight 10 years of success as a historical preservation site. It will feature many quotes from the notable president of Morehouse College (1940 – 1967) will tell the story of his birth in Epworth, SC, and his rise to becoming a 20th-century giant through his outstanding leadership as a teacher, minister, scholar, author, theologian, and activist. The event schedule is below:
Friday, November 5, 2021, the celebration will include a panel discussion, co-sponsored by Lander University (Greenwood, SC), and the Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity (Duke University). Panelists will include:
- David Romine (Samuel DuBois Cook biographer) of The Samuel DuBois Cook Center on Social Equity at Duke University;
- James West (UK-based writer and historian), author of Ebony Magazine and Lerone Bennett Jr.: Popular Black History in Postwar America and currently working on a manuscript, Our Kind of Historian: A Biography of Lerone Bennett Jr.;
- Randal Jelks (Professor of African and African American Studies and American Studies at the University of Kansas), author of Benjamin Elijah Mays, Schoolmaster of the Movement: A Biography; and
- John Roper (Teaching Associate in History, Coastal Carolina University), author of The Magnificent Mays: A Biography of Benjamin Elijah Mays.
This event will be held in the Josephine B. Abney Cultural Center Auditorium (Lander University) and will begin promptly at 6 pm.
Saturday, November 6, 2021 – “A Legacy Worth Preserving” – The event will be held at the GLEAMNS Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site and will take place from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Randal Jelks and entertainment will be provided by the Lander University Gospel Choir.
Sunday, November 7, 2021 – The weekend will conclude at Old Mt. Zion Baptist Church (Epworth, SC), the childhood church of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays. The theme of this worship service is “Lord the People Have Driven Me On” (the title of the shorter autobiography written by Dr. Mays) and will focus on the power of religious communities.
Join us as we celebrate 10 glorious years of the GLEAMNS Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site.