On September 8, 2012, the new S.C. marker for Dr. Benjamin E. Mays was unveiled at the Mays Historic Site. It was placed near the sidewalk where visitors can read about his extraordinary life prior to touring the birth home and the museum. The unveiling was a remarkable event and was attended by the Morehouse Class of 1961 and many members of the Greenwood community. Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, Dr. Mays' great niece from Atlanta, spoke about how proud she was of her uncle. Dr. Richard Hope, president of the Morehouse Class of 1961, also spoke about his close association with the incomparable Dr. Benjamin E. Mays. The new marker contains more language than the original S.C. Mays marker that still stands at theoriginal site of his birth home on U.S. highway 178 in the Epworth Community, about 14 miles SE of the Mays Historic Site.
MOREHOUSE CLASS OF 1961 51stANNUAL REUNION, BOOK SIGNING, AND PREMIER OF SC ETV'S FILM, BORN TO REBEL, DRIVEN TO EXCEL
From September 7 –8, 2012, the Mays Historic Site was honored to host the 51stannual reunion of the Morehouse graduating class of 1961. The president of the Class, Dr. Richard Hope, grandson offormerMorehouse College President Dr. Richard Hope, attendedalong with his wife, Alice. (It was Dr. Hope who, in 1920 after Benjamin Mays graduated from Bates College, recruited him to teach mathematics at Morehouse!). Dr. Charles Willi, president of Martin Luther King's Class of 1948, also attended. At the unveiling of the new S.C. Mays markeron Sep 8th, Dr. Richard Hope spoke about thesignificantmeaning it had for him to have attended Morehouse College and to visit the Mays Historic Site dedicated in honor of his former beloved college president, Dr. Benjamin E. Mays.
The Class of '61 was truly excited to visit for the first time Dr. Mays' birth home which had been rescued from its use as a hay barn in Epworth. Class members had effusive and eloquent comments about the Mays Museum which contains so many photosand artifactsof their beloved and distinguished college president. After a reception in the museum's theater,Loy Sartin, director/curator of the Mays Historic Site, treated the men and many of their wives to a tour of Epworth and took photos of them standing next to the S.C. historic marker at the original site of the birth home on US 178. Loy then gave the class a tour of the Phoenix Community and related facts about the Phoenix Riot which truly made it come alive in the minds of the class members who had read Dr. Mays' account of the mob that confronted his father in November 1898.
On Saturday, September 8th, the Class of '61 attended the premier showing of S.C. ETV's new film, Born to Rebel, Driven to Excel, uptown in Greenwood's Arts Center. It wasa dramatic film which had been partially filmed at the Mays Site and in Epworth. Following the film, one of the class members, Dr. George Grant, who had been one of the prestigious "house boys" for Dr. and Mrs. Mays, participated in a panel discussion about the legendary president of Morehouse College. Many distinguished panelists participated including Dr. Mays' eulogist, Dr. Samuel Dubois Cook; Dr. Mays' secretary, Mrs. Sally Warner; Dr. Charles V. Willi; Dr. Mays' great niece, Dr. Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp; and Dr. Vernon Burton who wrote the foreward to Dr. Mays' autobiography, Born to Rebel. Following this thought-provoking discussion,everyonewas treated to good foodand a chance to mix and mingle with local folks.
At the same venue and time, abook signingwas heldby the authors of twonewMays biographies: Benjamin Elijah Mays, Schoolmaster of the Movementby Dr. Randal Jelks; and The Magnificent Maysby Dr. John H. Roper, Sr. Later that evening, the class reunion was capped with a delicious dinner in their honor. Hosting the reunion was truly one of the most memorable events that have occurred at the Mays Historic Site and we look forward to hosting the Morehouse Class of '61 again!