In the Washington Post: En Route to Selma, TC Alumna Thelma Adair Shares Memorie | Teachers College Columbia University

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In the Washington Post: En Route to Selma, TC Alumna Thelma Adair Shares Memories of Frightening Times

TC alumna Thelma C. Davidson Adair, honored in 2011 by Congressman Charles Rangel as “our Village Mother of Harlem” and ``Educator, Pioneer, Activist, Mother, Grand & Great Grandmother,''  flew to Selma this past weekend to march with President Obama and others on the 50-year anniversary of the civil rights march across the Edmund Pettus Bridge. On the flight down from New York City, she shared memories with the Washington Post's Richard Cohen, who wrote about her in a recent column.

Adair, who earned both a master's degree and doctorate from TC, grew up in the Jim Crow South, married the Reverend Dr. Arthur Eugene Adair, founder and Senior Pastor of the landmarked Mount Morris Ascension Presbyterian Church and organized many of Harlem's first Head Start programs.

In 1976, she became the first African-American woman to be elected Moderator of the Presbyterian Church 188th Assembly. Her efforts and involvement with the Presbyterian Church have been nationally recognized by foreign and national heads of states and United States presidents.

Adair is Professor Emeritus of the City University of New York's Queens College, where she taught for 31 years. She also taught religious education at Union Theological Seminary, was a lecturer at the University of Ghana and Columbia University, and trained members of the U.S. Peace Corps for service in Africa, South America and the Caribbean.

The Arthur Eugene and Thelma Adair Community Life Center, Inc. Head Start serves over 250 children and their families annually in five Head Start Centers in Harlem. 

Adair received TC's Distinguished Alumni Award in 1977.

Published Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2015


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