Morris Brown College admits entire graduating class of Benjamin E Mays High School

The graduating class of Benjamin E. Mays High School is getting an unprecedented graduation gift from one of the nation’s most historic and beloved HBCUs. On Friday, April 19, the school announced that they would welcome the entire senior student body to begin classes at the newly accredited school in the fall of 2024.

After nearly 20 years, Morris Brown College regained its accreditation in 2022, but during the challenges of its financially lean years, beginning in 2003  lean years the student body dwindled to less than 90 percent of its 2,700 students. 

A spokesperson with the liberal arts college announced Tuesday the historically Black institution regained full accreditation.

Representatives for Morris Brown College announced Wednesday that its application for accreditation has been approved by the Transnational Association of Christian Colleges and Schools.

“We went from 2,700 students to 70 students overnight, when we lost our accreditation,” said MBC’s interim president, Dr. Kevin E. James, regarding the chain of financial missteps and mismanagement that would ultimately launch officials into a Herculean effort to restore accreditation and increase enrollment.

“Over the next three to five years we plan to enroll 400 students. … But I anticipate, many more than that because Morris Brown as a college, is a trailblazer regarding who we are as a historical institution of record,” James explained. “… I foresee the doors opening to a flood of incoming students,” James said in an earlier interview.

Morris Brown’s 2020 Strategic plan projects that a significant number of the school’s incoming students, will be virtual students participating in online learning programs. “This semester we began our online programs and we’re maximizing our use of technology to grow a vibrant online [learning community]. That will help us immensely,” said James.

During the school’s lean years, college officials found themselves in an unenviable position and ultimately had to sell parcels of the campus and liquidate assets, including dormitories and iconic instruction halls built by black workers at the first college for Blacks in Georgia, and where W.E.B Dubois taught classes.

James and MBC’s board of trustees are confident that they will secure housing for the more than 400 additional students who will join their numbers when the doors open for the freshmen Class of 2024.


“We are in partnership with the Interdenominational Theological Center, which is right next door to provide additional housing for students,” explained interim president James. “Morris Brown College is ready to reengage and position itself and fulfill its obligation as an accredited innovative institution, ready to make a difference for all that enter the doors of this ‘historic haven for hungry souls.’

There are only three college degree programs now, catering to less than 50 faithful scholars and a scaled-down faculty, but there is undeniable history and academic tradition here and that deserves preserving.

“As so many alumni and celebrants have expressed … Morris Brown changed lives, profoundly and forever,” said Greg Jackson (’81), president of Prestige Automotive in Detroit. “I honestly don’t know where I would be right now if it weren’t for Morris Brown,” he continued. “So, if we want to carry that mission and the good works of the school forward, supporting Morris Brown is a no-brainer,” he said noting, “time is of the essence.”

College officials made a deal with the high school in order to provide more options for higher education for the youth that attend the school. Students will be required to maintain a 2.0 GPA to accept the offer.

Morris Brown College is a private Methodist historically black liberal arts college in Atlanta. Founded Jan. 5, 1881, Morris Brown is the first educational institution in Georgia to be owned and operated entirely by African Americans.

The high school, which serves approximately 1,300 minority students, is ranked in the bottom 50 percent of all schools in Georgia for overall test scores, according to The school currently has a graduation rate of approximately 71 percent. 

Four students were shot at the school in February. Fortunately, they all survived. Another student was arrested for the shooting.  

On Friday, Atlanta police confirmed they have arrested a fourth person in connection to the shooting death of Bre’Asia Powell. She was killed during an unofficial post-graduation party for Mays High School students in May 2023. Another student was also shot and injured. 

Several well-known people attended Mays High School, including Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens, Rep. Mesha Mainor, NFL players Tyrell Adams, Reggie Wilkes and Natrez Patrick, singer Rozonda Thomas of TLC, NBA players DeAngelo Yancey and Gerald Wilkins, MLB player Xzavion Curry, actress Adrienne C. Moore and Walter Kimrbough, president of Dillard University.

Benjamin E. Mays was the president of Morehouse College from 1940 to 1967 and an advisor to Presidents Johnson and Carter. He served on the Atlanta Board of Education for nine years and was the first Black president of the board. 

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