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Charles P. Adams Sr.
The birth of Charles P. Adams, Sr., in 1873 is marked on this date. He was a Black educator and administrator.
He was born in Brusly, Louisiana, and worked his way through Tuskegee Institute. During this time he became a committed student of Booker T. Washington. In 1901,(after graduation) the North Louisiana Farmers’ Relief Association (NLFRA) asked Adams to return to Louisiana. The group had asked Tuskegee’s Washington to find a man capable of setting up an agricultural and industrial school in North Louisiana. Adams was that man and that school eventually became Grambling University.
On acreage two miles west of the school’s present site, Adams established what was known as the Colored Industrial and Agricultural School. The first student body of this little school totaled 105 students, most of them from the immediate community. Room and board were five dollars a month, most often paid with home-cured meat, chickens, syrup, meal, flour, and potatoes. In 1904, he married Martha N. Adams.
He lectured in nearby communities, and through his connection with Washington, he secured some financial assistance from the northern states and from Canada to keep the struggling institution alive. The school’s first faculty consisted of three people: Adams, as principal and teacher, his wife, Martha, co-founder as well as domestic science teacher, and A. C. Welcher, a farm instructor.
In 1905, Adams left Grambling because its NLFRA Baptist membership wanted a church-centered school and the Tuskegee-trained Adams wanted a school devoted to training people for making a good living on their farms, improving health conditions, and living more efficiently in groups. Soon after, seven Negro men in the Grambling community, Adams among them, pledged $25 dollars each for a new school site and a 200-acre plot five miles west of Ruston, LA, was purchased for $800. For 35 years, Adams headed the school, now officially known as the Grambling State University of Louisiana. Most of those years were very difficult ones, but Adams and Grambling persevered.
Charles Phillip Adams Sr., one of the last of the chain of pioneer educators, died on June 27, 1961.