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Captivated by The Life of Dr. Mays


October 19th, our students and their families traveled to the Dr. Benjamin E. Mays Historical Preservation Site in Greenwood, South Carolina. Our tour guide was the director of the site, Mr. Christopher Thomas, who is also one of our Board Members. The students, ranging from three to ten years old, began to wonder what would be discovered when they took their first step into the home that Dr. Mays grew up in as well as the school building that sat adjacent from it.


Some of the facts the students mentioned allowed us to see the site from their point-of-view. They remembered how all of Dr. Mays’ siblings were born in the house that was insulated with old newspapers. The home even now stays warm in the winter months and cool in the summer times. The question still remains as to why this is.

Within the home, the student bakers were intrigued by the Pie Safe that was used to evenly distribute the heat to pies as they cooled as well as keeping insects and little, child-size fingers away from the dish. The icebox challenged the way the students think of refrigerators today.

The students enjoyed picking cotton for about twenty minutes while the parents watched and conversed about the history so close to us. The type of cotton the students picked was embedded with a fuzzy, short seed. Some of them went home with hoodies or pull-overs full from the harvest they collected to make stuffed animals, pillows, and so many other things.

While in the school building at the site, our students sat in the old style desks while learning about a furnace and the proper way to handle coal. For tour purposes, the recommendation was to leave the coal in its proper place so that no one went home looking as if they had been working a coal mine.


Mr. Thomas shared with us how Dr. Mays was challenged in school more than he thought he would have been. Because he was three years behind others his age, he worked diligently to catch up and even exceed the expectations of those around him. He finished seventh and eighth grade in four months while continuing on his education journey away from the farm while making straight A’s for five years.

As a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, many of the parents had no idea that history’s roots were found in neighborhoods near us. A lot of our CMS families have moved here from other places. It was refreshing to hear perspectives from even our teachers about what they never knew or learned. We are continuing to make history together that will CAPTIVATE our young learners who will one day CAPTIVATE others through the good works they bring to the communities of which they will settle in their future.

Go take a trip to see this preservation site. It is worth knowing more about the history of Greenwood and the surrounding areas. For more information or to schedule a tour, call 864-229-8833.


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