Lloyd Mays is a poet, artist and author of a book called "I Came from Hog Branch". The book is a collection of his poems and paintings that detail life as a black man in Hog Branch, just east of Brenham.
Mays says putting together a book has always been a dream of his.
"I started painting as a means of attention. I came from a large family, I was the youngest of 14 kids and no one was paying attention to me," laughed Mays. "My mother gave me a paint by numbers set when I was 6 years old and then I started doing it without the numbers and the attention started to come."
As people across the country gather Tuesday to celebrate Juneteenth and the abolition of slavery, Mays says it's important for young people to remember that there was still quite a struggle for Black men and women post slavery. His honesty and creativity in his poetry reminds readers that even though life does bring about challenges, joy and happiness can be found along the way.
"I wanted people to know what it was like growing up during segregation," said Mays. "I had a lot of feelings that were pent up when I was growing up, and through my poetry and painting I was able to release a lot of those feelings."
Mays says he has several favorite poems that he chose to put into his book "I Came from Hog Branch". He hopes that anyone who picks up the book will be reminded not to give up on their dreams.
"Whatever dream you have, stick with your dream. I didn't give up on mine. A couple of times I thought about other things, but it always came back to this dream of painting and writing and I finally did it," said Mays.
"I Came from Hog Branch" The Works of Lloyd Mays can be purchased in a few places, including the Washington on the Brazos State Park gift shop, The Barnhill Visitors Center in Downtown Brenham and The Book Nook in Brenham.
You can also contact Mays directly to purchase a copy at firstname.lastname@example.org.