A Poem for Angelou … By Dr. Benjamin E. Mays

“We all breathe the same air.
We all cherish our children’s future.” –JFK

This morning when I awoke the first person to enter my mind was a four year old boy named,
Angelou. I have never actually met young Angelou in person, but I know him through his grandmother.
Mrs. Prioleau is a Librarian whom I have known for the past eight years.
In those eight years Mrs. Prioleau has played a vital role in my life; she has helped me with all of the community programs (40 programs) I put forth for the city of College Park.

My first program, a film I brought in, “The Girl From Chicago” by Oscar Micheaux…to my last program
MLK DAY Job Fair January 15th 2016.
Over the past eight years Mrs. Prioleau has been my greatest supporter and marketing person as well.
I have grown to love Mrs. Prioleau like one loves a very close family member.

In recent years Mrs. Prioleau has shared with me wonderful stories concerning her highly
intelligent grandson, Angelou. One day I decided to write Angelou a letter and to my great joy Angelou wrote back to me and our relationship is now one that I cherish.

I have shared a toy plane, children’s books and movies with my dear young friend, but the gift I am most happy to talk about is the poem I shared with Angelou last year. The poem is actually my favorite poem, and I hasten the poem was written by
Dr. Benjamin E. Mays of Morehouse College.

Dr. Mays recited this poem everyday that he taught at Morehouse; Dr. Mays was mentor to
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and to my knowledge Dr. Mays has produced more black millionaires
than any other single person in the city of Atlanta. Everyone of those black millionaires can recite this little poem that captures the essence of the spirit of success and responsibility.

I must stop here and go back to my young friend Angelou.
I learned that Angelou’s mother was so taken by this poem that she went out and bought a frame and placed the poem in the frame and it now hangs on the wall of Angelou’s bedroom wall and so Angelou has to read the poem everyday.

It is a poem Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. knew well and now, it is a poem that my four year old friend
Angelou will get to know well too.


Life is just a minute.
Only sixty seconds in it.
Forced upon you can’t refuse it.

Didn’t seek it.
Didn’t choose it.
But it’s up to YOU
to loose it.

Give an account if you abuse it.
Just a tiny little minute…
But eternity is in it.

By Dr. Ben E. Mays

You can watch Oscar Micheaux films @ YouTube.


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