The statement, “It’s never too late!” is all too true for Lem Major’s life. Majors worked the majority of his life with an eighth grade education. In the 1970’s he earned his GED, then 16 years ago he enrolled at American Baptist College in Nashville, Tennessee. This was his first time in the classroom since 1937. He had to go back to school with kids while he was up in age.
He failed courses in college but portrayed resilience and continued to attempt to go to school. Failing had its way with him so much that he could only enroll in spring semesters, being punished from academic setbacks. However, last May, Majors finally received his Associates degree. He said, “You gotta make it happen! You are the one that has to make it happen!”
At 83 years old, he is still encouraging others to keep fighting through times of challenge. He also says, “If you start something – if you set your mind on something – never quit and don’t get with nobody that’s not going nowhere. You won’t go nowhere neither,”
Majors now proudly owns an associate’s degree from American Baptist College, but he’s not planning any kind of career change. Next year he’ll celebrate 50 years working for Metro Development and Housing Agency in Nashville, Tennessee as a janitor.
People who are usually looked over are accepted at HBCU’s and molded into beacons of hope in a world full of hopelessness.
He was honored last Tuesday at American Baptist College’s convocation.