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In this first full-length biography of Benjamin Mays (1894-1984), Randal Maurice Jelks chronicles the life of the man Martin Luther King Jr. called his "spiritual and intellectual father." Dean of the Howard University School of Religion, president of Morehouse College, and mentor to influential black leaders, Mays had a profound impact on the education of the leadership of the black church and of a generation of activists, policymakers, and educators. Jelks argues that Mays's ability to connect the message of Christianity with the responsibility to challenge injustice prepared the black church for its pivotal role in the civil rights movement. From Mays's humble origins in Epworth, South Carolina, through his doctoral education, his work with institutions such as the National Urban League, the NAACP, and the national YMCA movement, and his significant career in academia, Jelks creates a rich portrait of the man, the teacher, and the scholar.

About the Author

Randal Maurice Jelks

Jelks is an award-winning Professor and scholar. He has published both scholarly and journalistic articles. His research and writing interests are in the areas of American Religious Studies, Religions of the African Diaspora, and Religion in American Social Movements. He is the author of the two award winning books African Americans in the Furniture City: the Civil Rights Struggle in Grand Rapids (The University of Illinois Press, 2006) , 2006 State History Award, University and Commercial Press, Historical Society of Michigan and Benjamin Elijah Mays, Schoolmaster of the Movement: A Biography (University of North Carolina Press 2012) , winner of the 2013 Lillian Smith Book Award, Southern Regional Council, University of Georgia Libraries and Dekalb County Library/Georgia Center for the Book; 2013 BCALA Literary Award, Black Caucus of the American Library Association; 2013 Departmental Award, Department of African & African-American Studies University of Kansas for Scholarship

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