On August 1, 2018 the GLEAMNS Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site hosted the Literary Landmark Distinction Ceremony and Plaque Unveiling honoring the distinguished literary accomplishments of Dr. Mays. Throughout his literary career Dr. Mays published nearly 2000 articles and eight books.
We were very excited that the South Carolina Academy of Authors (SCAA) nominated Dr. Benjamin E. Mays and the GLEAMNS Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site to have the Literary Landmark distinction bestowed upon us. We worked for month with E. Andersen Cook (Statewide Initiatives Coordinator, Statewide Services) at the State Library in Columbia, SC to host this plaque dedication ceremony on the 124th birthday of this civil rights giant in American history, Dr. Benjamin E. Mays.
There were previously only two sites in SC that have the Literary Landmark distinction bestowed upon them by the American Literary Association (ALA), and we are now the third site in the state of South Carolina to have this distinction bestow upon them. The others are the James Dickey Library, University of South Carolina, Columbia, S.C. (1999), and the Pat Conroy Literary Center, Beaufort, S.C. (2017). Our keynote address was eloquently delivered by Dr. Orville Vernon Burton, Professor of History at Clemson University. The event was well attended by state and local officials who participated in our program:
Tom Mack - Board Chair of the South Carolina Academy of Authors
Marlena White - President of the Board for Friends of South Carolina Libraries
Leesa Aiken - Agency Director of the South Carolina State Library
The Honorable Welborn Adams, Mayor, City of Greenwood, Member, GLEAMNS Board of Commissioners
The Honorable Gonza L. Bryant, Councilman, Greenwood County Council, District 3
The Honorable Floyd Nicholson, Senator, D – South Carolina Senate, District 10
The Honorable J. Anne Parks, Representative, D – South Carolina House of Representatives, District 12
The language on the plaque was as follows:
GLEAMNS Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site
Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays (1894-1984)
Distinguished minister, educator, scholar, social activist, mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., advisor to three presidents, and perhaps best known as the longtime president of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. Mays was the youngest of eight children born to parents who were both ex-slaves. His life was greatly influence by the people of the Epworth, SC community where he was raised. He published nearly 2000 articles and nine books including: The Negro’s Church (1933), The Negro's God, as reflected in his literature (1938), Seeking to be Christian in Race Relations (1946), A Gospel for the Social Awakening (1950), Disturbed About Man (1969), Born to Rebel (1971) Lord, the People Have Driven Me On (1981), and Quotable Quotes of Benjamin E. Mays (1983),
South Carolina Academy of Authors
South Carolina State Library August 1, 2018