All Benjamin E. Mays High School seniors gain admission to HBCU Morris Brown College in surprise announcement

Dollita Okine May 03, 2024
Morris Brown College. Photo: ABC17NEWS

Benjamin E. Mays High School brought together its 272 senior class members for a meeting on April 19 that the school administration announced was to present awards for salutatorian, valedictorian, and senior superlatives.

But, in an unexpected twist of events, the school declared that every member of the Mays Class of 2024 had been accepted to Morris Brown College, an HBCU in Georgia, and a member of the Atlanta University Center. The one caveat was that they could only take advantage of this if they graduated with a GPA higher than 2.0, according to WABE.

Morris Brown President Kevin James joined the seniors to make the announcement. He shared, “We were founded back in 1881. What makes our institutions very unique is because we’re the only Black college in the state of Georgia that was actually founded by Black people, for Black people.”

Since its founding in 1881, the HBCU has faced hardships, according to WABE. One such instance occurred in 2002 when the institution lost its accreditation, preventing it from receiving government funds (such as Pell Grants and federal financial aid) or granting visas for international students. But Brown persisted, and in 2022 the Virginia-based Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) restored Brown’s full accreditation.

James shared, “When I started as president of Morris Brown five years ago…I felt like God sent me to do this life work… to restore Morris Brown College to its full restoration.” When he took charge, the school had roughly 20 students; by the next fall, that number will have increased to over 500.

James told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution “This was access, an opportunity moment for students, and I hope as many as possible will take advantage. I know they have a lot of options, but now Morris Brown is another option.”

Mays’ namesake, Benjamin Elijah Mays, was one of Morehouse College’s longest-serving presidents who also mentored Martin Luther King Jr. 

Among the notable alumni of Mays High School are Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, Representative Mesha Mainor, NFL players Tyrell Adams, Reggie Wilkes, and Natrez Patrick, singer Rozonda Thomas of TLC, NBA players Gerald Wilkins and DeAngelo Yancey, MLB player Xzavion Curry, actress Adrienne C. Moore, and Walter Kimbrough, the president of Dillard University, as reported by Fox5.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: May 3, 2024


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