Sadie G. Mays Health and Rehabilitation Center stands and operates as a tribute to Sadie Gray Mays, who epitomized tender and unrelenting determination to help others. Sadie Mays, a native of Gray, GA, attended Paine College and earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Sociology at the University of Chicago. Her husband, the late Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, stated that “she had a special concern for the young, aged, disadvantaged and the poor.”
During the 1940’s, long-term health care services, especially for African-Americans who were ill, homeless and many times unwanted, were very inadequate. Prior to the establishment of Medicaid and Medicare, most persons needing long term services were placed in county operated Alms House or “Poor House,” or privately owned boarding homes. In September, 1946, an article in the Atlanta Journal evoked public outcry causing public health officials to respond to the needs of the black community.
An Interdenominational Committee was established for the purpose of providing more effective care for the sick and homeless. On January 21, 1947, a nonprofit corporation, the Atlanta Association for Convalescent Aged Persons, Inc., was founded. Mrs. Sadie Gray Mays was elected as its President.
By March, 1947, the Old Battle Hill Sanatorium site was selected to be used as the nursing home. The home was named “Happy Haven” and on March 24, 1947, accepted its first residents. The original home could accommodate up to sixty patients.
A facility renovation was completed at the end of the summer, 1967, which increased the occupancy to 160 beds. On February 8, 1968, the first residents were admitted into their new home. By the end of March, the remaining residents of the Fulton County Alms House were transferred to Happy Haven, officially closing the “Poor House” which served the Black community. This transfer of residents marked the end of an era of depravation for the homeless, chronically- ill and unwanted.
Mrs. Sadie G. Mays was admitted to Happy Haven Nursing Home during the summer of 1969 and she died there on October 10, 1969. On December 20, 1972, the Board of Directors unanimously elected to change the facility’s name to Sadie G. Mays Memorial Nursing Home, in honor of its founder. An additional renovation and expansion was done in 1972 which provided a total of 206 beds.
In 1997, our name was changed to Sadie G. Mays Health and Rehabilitation Center, which better reflects the center’s transition to comprehensive rehabilitation and specialty services. In 2014, 13 rooms were transformed into private rooms for the short term rehabilitation wing.
The center is poised to meet the future challenges in health care. We are proud of our heritage and our ongoing commitment to caring.