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Paul Adams, III

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Information about Paul Adams, III

Profile image of Paul Adams, III

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
High School Principal

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Pork Chops
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Las Vegas, Nevada
Favorite Quote:
Make a way or find a way.

Birthplace

Born:
9/14/1940
Birth Location:
Montgomery, Alabama

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
High School Principal

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Pork Chops
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring, Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Las Vegas, Nevada
Favorite Quote:
Make a way or find a way.

Birthplace

Born:
9/14/1940
Birth Location:
Montgomery
See how Paul Adams, III is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Born September 14, 1940, Paul Joseph Adams III learned the value of education from his parents, Patsy Lois and Paul Adams, Jr., who enrolled him in private elementary and high schools in his hometown of Montgomery, Alabama. After receiving a B.A. from Alabama State University, Adams moved north to Chicago, where he worked in mental health education while earning his M.A. in psychology from Northeastern Illinois University.

In 1971, Adams was hired as director of guidance for Providence-St. Mel School, a private Catholic high school in Chicago. He became the school's principal a year later. When the Archdiocese of Chicago withdrew funding for the school in 1978, Adams spearheaded a national campaign to raise money for the school. In response to his publicity-seeking efforts and the support of the Providence-St. Mel students and community, the school received local and national media attention. Donations poured in from across the country, and Adams transitioned Providence-St. Mel into a not-for-profit independent school.

At Providence-St. Mel, Adams focused on developing a strong academic standard while enforcing strict disciplinary codes. To guarantee the safety of his students, he moved into the vacant convent inside the school to ward off thieves and vandals. His dedication became legendary and during the next two decades, Adams successfully transformed Providence-St. Mel into a premier learning institution for African American students.

Since 1996, Adams has served as president of Providence-St. Mel School, managing an annual budget in excess of $6 million. He is still very active in planning the curriculum for the school, which has expanded to include elementary and middle grades. Under Adams' leadership, every one of Providence-St. Mel's graduating seniors has been accepted to institutions of higher learning.

Adams has received numerous awards for his efforts, including the McDonald's Education Achievement Award, the African-American Male Image Award, the Rozell R. Nesbitt Community Education Award, and four honorary doctorates. Adams was named an American Hero in Education by Reader's Digest and was voted Man of the Year by the Chicago Urban League.

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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Paul Adams's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Paul Adams's favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Paul Adams discusses his family's geographical origins
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Paul Adams describes his attempts to research his background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Paul Adams tells of conflicting stories in his genealogical research
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Paul Adams mentions two tragic family stories
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Paul Adams remembers his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Paul Adams mentions his siblings
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Paul Adams remembers his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Paul Adams describes his childhood household
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Paul Adams remembers nostalgic smells from childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Paul Adams describes his childhood community
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - Paul Adams as a child
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - Paul Adams discusses his mentors
  • Tape: 1 Story: 15 - Paul Adams mentions his childhood schools
  • Tape: 1 Story: 16 - Paul Adams as a high school student
  • Tape: 1 Story: 17 - Paul Adams describes why he does not attend church
  • Tape: 1 Story: 18 - Paul Adams reflects on his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 1 Story: 19 - Paul Adams discusses Mr. E. D. Nixon
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Paul Adams discusses the planning of the Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Paul Adams discusses his experience of the Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Paul Adams describes how Emmitt Till's death and television influenced the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Paul Adams meets Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Paul Adams remembers mass meetings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Paul Adams rides the buses after the Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Paul Adams reflects on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Paul Adams discusses Robert Nesbitt
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Paul Adams explains his commitment to the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Paul Adams attend Alabama State University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Paul Adams is expelled from Alabama State University
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Paul Adams talks about youth in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Paul Adams mentions Civil Rights Movement organizers
  • Tape: 2 Story: 14 - Paul Adams returns to Alabama State University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Paul Adams moves to Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Paul Adams describes his work for the Chicago State Hospital
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Paul Adams discusses his impression of Chicago
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Paul Adams looks for a job in Chicago
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Paul Adams goes into business
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Paul Adams remembers the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Paul Adams recalls his last interaction with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Paul Adams describes the 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Paul Adams reflects on the 1965 March from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Paul Adams returns to Chicago
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - Paul Adams leaves Jack N' the Box
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - Paul Adams provides a brief history of Providence-St. Mel
  • Tape: 3 Story: 13 - Paul Adams restructures Providence-St. Mel
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Paul Adams fights to keep Providence-St. Mel open
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Paul Adams turns Providence-St. Mel into an independent school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Paul Adams discusses an anonymous donation to Providence-St. Mel
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Paul Adams discusses public education
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Paul Adams discusses Providence-St. Mel students
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Paul Adams describes his simple education technique
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Paul Adams describes Providence-St. Mel's assessment process
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Paul Adams emphasizes early exposure for students
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Paul Adams discusses parental involvement and continued growth at Providence-St. Mel
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Paul Adams discusses his religious affiliation
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Paul Adams discusses value education
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Paul Adams disagrees with closing schools on Martin Luther King's holiday
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Paul Adams discusses teacher and student role models
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Paul Adams describes his philosophy of education
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Paul Adams discusses Providence-St. Mel School alumni
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Paul Adams discusses his hopes and concerns for the black community
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Paul Adams talks about the failures of the educational system
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Paul Adams discusses restructuring public education
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Paul Adams describes Providence-St. Mel School's high expectations
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Paul Adams discusses the balance between academics and athletics
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Paul Adams discusses the racial makeup of Providence-St. Mel School
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Paul Adams explains how strict rules eliminate behavior problems
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Paul Adams explains the curriculum of Providence-St. Mel School
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Paul Adams discusses the financial difficulties of Providence-St. Mel School
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Paul Adams discusses Providence-St. Mel School's teachers
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Paul Adams describes his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Paul Adams describes how he wants to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Photo -- Paul Adams's First Grade Picture in Montgomery, Alabama (1946)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Photo -- Paul Adams as President of Providence-St. Mel School
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Photo -- Paul Adams as Infant (1940)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Photo -- Paul Adams and Jeanette DiBella, Principal of Providence-St. Mel School (circa 2000)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 13 - Photo -- Paul Adams (circa 1958)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 14 - Photo -- Paul Adams (1963)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 15 - Photo -- Paul Adams Calling Bingo Numbers for Fundraiser (late 1970s)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 16 - Photo -- Paul Adams (1996)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 17 - Photo -- Paul Adams and President Ronald Reagan, Among Others (1983)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 18 - Photo -- Paul Adams (1979)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 19 - Photo -- Paul Adams and Parents Protesting the Closure of Providence-St. Mel School (1978)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 20 - Photo -- Paul Adams Teaching Guidance (late 1970s)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 21 - Photo -- Paul Adams in 'People Magazine' (1978)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 22 - Photo -- Paul Adams (Mar 1965)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 23 - Photo -- Paul Adams and President Ronald Reagan
  • Tape: 6 Story: 24 - Newspaper Advertisement -- Paul Adams and Providence-St. Mel School Students in Wall Street Journal (Jun 1978)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 25 - Photo -- Paul Adams with Reverend Jesse Jackson and Providence-St. Mel School Alumna, Monica Thorns (1983)
  • Tape: 6 Story: 26 - Photo -- Paul Adams with Daughter, Bridget (circa 2002)