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Panel to Discuss Life and Legacy of Benjamin Mays

Lander University will co-host a panel discussion on Greenwood native and civil rights leader Dr. Benjamin E. Mays on Friday, Nov. 3, at 5 p.m. in the university's Josephine B. Abney Cultural Center Auditorium.

The panel discussion, titled "The Life and Legacy of Dr. Benjamin E. Mays," is part of a weekend-long celebration being organized by the GLEAMNS Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site. The panel discussion is open to the community and is FALS-approved for Lander students.

Mays, who was born and raised in the Greenwood area and is regarded as one of the country's most influential citizens, was president of Atlanta's Morehouse College from 1940-1967, at the height of the civil rights movement. There, he was a teacher and mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the most prominent of his many noteworthy students.

Friday's discussion, which is co-hosted by Lander's Department of History and Philosophy, will feature a star-studded panel of speakers, including historians and scholars, as well as several of Mays' students and mentees. Panelists include: Dr. Orville Vernon Burton, twice nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in History and one of the nation's leading historians; Dr. Zachery Williams, a Greenwood native and associate professor of African American history at the University of Akron; Dr. Otis Moss Jr., pastor, theologian and mentee of Mays; Dr. Lawrence E. Carter, professor of religion and dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. Chapel at Morehouse College; and Dr. John H. Roper Sr., Mays biographer and history professor at Coastal Carolina University.

The panel discussion kicks-off a weekend of events honoring the legacy of Mays, including the unveiling of an 8-foot-tall statue on the grounds of the Mays Historical Site. The bronze structure will be dedicated during a ceremony at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the Mays site. On Sunday, Nov. 5, a special worship service will take place at Old Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Ninety Six, which was Mays' childhood church.

For more information on the weekend of events, visit the Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site's website.