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Congresswoman Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. will receive Spelman's 2021 Community Service Award

May 2021

Congresswoman Alma Davis to Receive National Community Service Award at SpelmanDr. Alma S. Adams was elected to her fourth full term representing the 12th Congressional District of North Carolina on November 3, 2020. After winning a special election in November 2014, Congresswoman Adams was sworn in immediately as the 100th woman elected to the 113th Congress.

Representative Adams serves on the Committee on Financial Services; Committee on Education & Labor and the Committee on Agriculture. She holds several leadership roles; as Assistant Whip for the Democratic Caucus, Chairwoman of the Committee on Education & Labor’s Subcommittee on Workforce Protections and Vice Chairwoman of the Committee on Agriculture.  Representative Adams’s subcommittee assignments, in addition to Workforce Protections, include Civil Rights and Human Services Committee on Education and Labor; Nutrition, Oversight, and Department Operations on Agriculture, and the Oversight and Investigations on Financial Services.

Her signature legislative accomplishment in Congress is the enactment of H.R. 5363, the Fostering Undergraduate Talent by Unlocking Resources for Education (FUTURE) Act that permanently provides funding totaling $255 million a year for all Minority-Serving Institutions, including $85 million for HBCUs.

Representative Adams is the founder and co-chair of the Congressional Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges and Universities Caucus, which promotes bipartisan legislation that supports HBCUs and their graduates. Since its inception, the Caucus has:

Secured additions to the Farm Bill, which includes 40 million dollars to HBCUs for scholarships, funding for newly established Centers of Excellence in agriculture, and additional funding for agricultural research and cooperative extension for 1890 land grant universities.

Established the annual HBCU Braintrust, which allows faculty, staff and students from historically black colleges to visit the nation’s capital to promote their institutions with government officials and corporate leaders.  

Throughout her career, Representative Adams has promoted quality education for all students, sponsoring and advancing numerous pieces of legislation to boost funds for Historically Black Colleges and Universities. She has also introduced legislation to provide nutritious breakfast in schools and supports increased pay for teachers. For 40 years, Dr. Adams taught Art History at Bennett College.

While at Bennett, she led the effort to increase student civic participation coining the phrase “Bennett Belles are Voting Belles” and organizing annual marches to the polls. As a former educator, Rep. Adams has dedicated her career to improving the lives of young people and her community. She is the recipient of numerous awards and honors, including the North Carolina A&T State University Human Rights Medal, the highest award presented by her alma mater to an individual who fights against social injustice and helps improve the world, and was also inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame.

In 1994, Dr. Adams was appointed by her peers to serve in the North Carolina House District 26 seat. She went on to serve ten terms in the state House. During her tenure, she rose to become the chair of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus. Before serving as a member of the North Carolina General Assembly, Congresswoman Adams served nine years on the Greensboro City Council. Throughout her service to the second district in Greensboro, Dr. Adams worked to create safe and affordable housing and for the revitalization of neighborhoods. She began her political career in the 1980’s by becoming the first African American woman ever elected to the Greensboro City School Board. It was there that she made a lifetime commitment to effecting social change in her community and beyond.

Congresswoman Adams has one daughter, Linda Jeanelle Lindsay, one son Billy E. Adams II, and four grandchildren: Joslyn Lindsay, Aaron Lindsay, Billy E. Adams III, and Miracle Sumner. Adams graduated from North Carolina A&T State University in 1968 and received her master’s degree in Art Education in 1972. She earned her Ph.D. in Art Education and Multicultural Education from The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio in 1981. 

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