Imagine walking down an old country dirt trail along side your dad on an early summer evening. The two of you are enjoying your time but it quickly turns to hell. As you are walking, you begin to feel the ground shake as if you were in a old western movie. When you turn around, you see a pack of white men riding on horses and carrying shotguns. These men quickly approach your father cursing and threatening your lives. The men clearly know that they are feared, so they began to toy with your father. They make him salute and bow down as if they were kings. As you are watching, you are in shock and complete fear. You're so scared that you begin to cry because you do not know if you or your father will make it out alive. This real event, which happened when Benjamin E. Mays was a young boy, was perhaps the defining moment on the early life of Benjamin E. Mays. Mays never forgot that evening. He feared for his life and that of his father. The position of defenseless was perhaps the most horrible part of the experience. Mays life-long battle to educate black and white Americans about equality between the races was perhaps born that night.


Roche, Jeff




African American Studies | United States History


mays, education

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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