Someone you missed in history class

Someone you missed in history class

Meghan Castle of the LCSC History Club

Charity Adams was born December 5, 1918 in Kittrell, North Carolina.

As a young girl, she watched one of the largest KKK parades march past her home in Colombia, South Carolina.

This was the first of many instances of racism that Adams remembered experiencing as an African American.

Despite being oppressed, Adams graduated high school as valedictorian and earned degrees in physics, mathematics, and Latin from Wilberforce University.

In 1942, she applied to become an officer in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC).

During her interview, an all white committee questioned Adams on her ability to lead as a black woman. She replied, “If any other woman can, given the same training and opportunity, I can.”

The committee grudgingly made her an officer and by 1944 Adams led the only company of black WACs to ever serve overseas during World War II.

In 1945, Adams took command of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion tasked with processing backlogged mail that was negatively impacting morale in the European Theater.

The women worked 24 hour days in two shifts processing 65,000 pieces of mail per day breaking all records for mail processing.

By the end of the war, Lieutenant Colonel Adams was the highest ranking African American woman in the military.

When she returned home, there was no fanfare or recognition for her service until decades later.

Following the war, Adams briefly worked at the Pentagon and earned a degree in psychology. She married Stanley Earley Jr. in 1949 and worked in higher education until she passed away in 2002.

Adams was a pioneer for black women in the military. She openly opposed segregation in the WAC and pushed back against racism at every opportunity.

She proudly served her country even when it saw her as less than equal because of her race and sex. For all of this, Adams deserves recognition as one of the great leaders of World War II.