The famous African American theologian and Morehouse alumnus, Howard Thurman, has written that:

The time and place of a man's life on earth are the time and place of his body, but the meaning and significance of his life is as vast and far-reaching as his gifts, his times and the passionate commitment of all his powers can make it (Thurman, 1979:1). The time of life on this earth for Benjamin Elijah Mays was the years between 1894 and 1984. The places of his life were several because he traveled frequently and widely. But the places most closely associated with his life for considerable periods of time were South Carolina, Bates College, the University of Chicago, Howard University and Atlanta, Georgia. It was in Atlanta where, for almost four decades, he demonstrated his longest and greatest commitment to strong and visionary leadership in the field of education. Therefore, it is fitting that this final session of the celebration of his legacy will explore his impact on education. Because of Dr. Mays' illustrious career as a dean, college president, chairman of the Board of Education of a major metropolitan school system; and because of his renown as a gifted orator and preacher of the Gospel it is very easy to lose sight of the fact that he was first a classroom teacher.