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Mays, Benjamin Elijahlocked

(1 Aug. 1894 or 1895–28 March 1984)
  • Orville Vernon Burton

Extract

Mays, Benjamin Elijah (1 Aug. 1894 or 1895–28 March 1984), educator, college president, and civil rights activist, was born near Rambo (now Epworth), South Carolina, the son of Hezekiah Mays and Louvenia Carter, tenant farmers who had been enslaved. Benjamin, the youngest of eight children, grew up in the rural South when whites segregated and disfranchised African Americans by law (he himself was not allowed to vote until 1945, when he was fifty-one years old). His first childhood memory was the 1898 Phoenix Riot in South Carolina where, he recalled, white vigilantes murdered his cousin....

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