Public Events at Divinity with Randal Jelks, 10/2012

Join us in welcoming Professor Randal Jelks to campus as he discusses his book, Benjamin Elijah Mays, Schoolmaster of the Movement: A Biography (University of North Carolina Press, April 2012).  Dr. Jelks will be our guest at Wednesday Community Luncheon and will speak at a public lecture (followed by a public reception), both on Wednesday, October 10th. See more information below.

On Thursday, October 11th, at 6 p.m., Dr. Jelks will be at 57th Street Books for a book signing. Please see more details here regarding the book signing. 

Randal Jelks is Associate Professor of American Studies, with a joint appointment in African and African American Studies, at the University of Kansas. He recently published the first full-length biography of Dr. Benjamin Mays. Mays, AM 1925, PhD 1935, famously remembered as Martin Luther King Jr's mentor, was a minister, educator, scholar, social activist and the president of Morehouse College from 1940 to 1967. 

Dr. Jelks is a graduate of South Shore High School (Chicago), McCormick Theological Seminary (M.Div.) and Michigan State University (Ph.D. in History). He is an ordained clergyperson in the Presbyterian Church (USA). His research and writing interests are in the areas of African American religious history, the African Diaspora, and civil rights history. He has also published African Americans in the Furniture City: The Civil Rights Struggle in Grand Rapids, Michigan (The University of Illinois Press, 2006). He is also one of the founders and editors, a blog of African American Politics, Culture, and Activism.

In this first full-length biography of Benjamin Mays (1894-1984), Randal Maurice Jelks chronicles the life of the man Martin Luther King Jr. called his "spiritual and intellectual father." Dean of the Howard University School of Religion, president of Morehouse College, and mentor to influential black leaders, Mays had a profound impact on the education of the leadership of the black church and of a generation of activists, policymakers, and educators. Jelks argues that Mays's ability to connect the message of Christianity with the responsibility to challenge injustice prepared the black church for its pivotal role in the civil rights movement.


Wednesday Community Luncheon

12 noon, Swift Common Room (1st floor)

Join us in the Swift Hall Common Room (1st floor) for one of our famous Wednesday Community Luncheons. Lunch is prepared and served by our creative and talented student staff.

Admission to this event is $5 at the door and includes a vegetarian meal (vegan available upon request). Reserve a place before Tuesday at 12:00 noon by contacting

Public Lecture: 
"The Modernist Historicist of the Black Church: 
Benjamin Elijah Mays and the University of Chicago Divinity School"

4:30 pm, Swift Lecture Hall (3rd floor)

Free and open to the public. A reception will follow, at 6:00 p.m.