Mays and Morehouse
Dereck Joseph Rovaris
Benjamin E. Mays was president of Morehouse College for 27 years. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., a former student and close friend, considered Dr. Mays to be his spiritual mentor and 'one of the great influences in my life.'
Now, in this first published book-length biography of Mays, Dereck Rovaris, relying on interviews with those who knew Mays as well as primary and secondary sources, presents an insightful view of a giant who represented human dignity, perseverance, dedication and spiritual harmony to many.
Mays is best remembered as the developer of Morehouse College. Under his direction, Morehouse became the fourth college in Georgia to house a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. The college's early admission program, created by Mays and adopted by the Ford Foundation as a national model, attracted Martin Luther King, Jr., Maynard H. Jackson and Walter Massey to Morehouse'all from the tenth grade.
Mays was mentor to an entire generation of African-American leaders including Dr. Charles Willie, the Harvard sociologist; Maynard Jackson, former mayor of Atlanta; Dr. Samuel Dubois Cook, former president of Dillard University; Lerone Bennett, senior editor of Ebony magazine; Dr. Louis Sullivan, former Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Walter Massey, president of Morehouse College and former director of the Nation Science Foundation.
Few historians have focused on the contributions of the educational leaders at traditionally black colleges have made not only to black higher education, but also to the larger field of American higher education, maintains Rovaris.
Rovaris' aim is to illuminate a great figure in higher education and to encourage further research and study in this neglected area of higher education.