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Published on April 23, 2024
Atlanta's Morris Brown College Offers Every Senior at Benjamin E. Mays High School a Chance to Continue Their LegacySource: Wikipedia/Clifflandis, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

In an unexpected turn at Benjamin E. Mays High School's assembly last Friday, 272 seniors were blindsided with the news that they had all been accepted to Morris Brown College. What was supposed to be a ceremony for announcing the top academic honorees took a twist as the Atlanta-based HBCU guaranteed every graduating senior a spot in its upcoming fall class. "We were founded back in 1881," Morris Brown College President Kevin James expressed to the assembly, highlighting the school's unique foundation by and for Black people, according to WABE.

President James shared the gripping tale of Morris Brown's resilience, once stripped of its accreditation in 2002, an event which James referred to as usually being "a death sentence for an institution." However, James underscored the college's determination: "Somehow, someway Morris Brown kept pushing on." Since taking the helm five years prior, President James's efforts have led to Morris Brown's recent full accreditation from the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools, marked by a resurgence to over 500 students slated for next fall.

Linking the past to the present, James offered a nod to the high school's namesake, Benjamin Elijah Mays, whose legacy as one of Morehouse College’s longest-serving presidents and as a mentor to Martin Luther King Jr. serves as an inspiration for the work he does now. Mays High Principal Ramon Garner talked about the high school's tightly knit community with approximately 98% of its senior class being Black, and the tradition of alumni giving back, fostering a sense of unity and legacy that resonates with the students.

One senior, Jaydan Price, voiced his enthusiasm for joining Morris Brown, asking, "Why not? Why wouldn’t I go?” He added, "When you have a community and a school built on history and legacy, why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?” Price, as he told WABE, is keen on preserving the historical significance and continuing to "walk on the shoulders of giants" as he steps into the college world.