Benjamin E. Mays (1894-1984) was born in Greenwood County, the son of former slaves, and educated at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and the University of Chicago, where he received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees. Appointed the Dean of the School of Religion at Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1934, he left in 1940 to become president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, a position he held until 1967. In 1968 he was chosen president of the Atlanta Board of Education--the first African-American to hold that position. Known internationally for his work in education and as an advocate of civil rights, he was honored by his native state in 1984 when the General Assembly erected a granite marker in his honor and placed his portrait in the State House. This photograph was taken at the time of those ceremonies.
Courtesy of "The State" newspaper.