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Collection 372 Oral History Interview with Judith Adams

 Collection
Identifier: CN 372
Oral history interview with Judith Rachelle Whitthingham Adams about her childhood, her work with Genesis One Christian School, The Mendenhall Ministries, and the educational and racial conditions in Mississippi. The time period covered by the interview is circa 1960-1987.

Judith Adams was interviewed by Paul A. Ericksen on June 25 and 26, 1987, at the offices of Mendenhall Ministries in Mendenhall, MS.

Dates

  • Created: 1987

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Extent

1.00 Audio Tape

66 Minutes

Biographical Information

Judith Rachelle Whittingham was born into a Christian family living in the South Bronx, the second of four children. Her family moved to Rockland County, NY, where she attended school and she and her family attended a Christian and Missionary Alliance church. An African-American, she first experienced racism in school, when a black classmate of hers never received recognition for her top scholarship because she did not "look acceptable." It was later, however, that she and her family felt the full force of racism when they bought a home in an all-white neighborhood. Some of the same Caucasian people she went to church with were involved in the violence against her family, e.g., painting swastikas and other ethnic slurs on their home, shooting at the children in the yard, etc. Judith's father was a major influence in her life, as he taught his children about the Christian life and stressed that the racism directed against them was sin.

Judith married Dennis Adams and together they sought some form of Christian service to underprivileged blacks. They had heard of the work of John Perkins in Mendenhall, MS, and had heard Dolphus Weary preach and talk about the Mississippi work in their church. In 1976 they moved to Mendenhall and became active in the work of the Mendenhall Ministries with a two-year commitment. Judith became involved with Genesis One Christian School, one of the projects supported by The Mendenhall Ministries, which was an outreach effort of the Mendenhall Bible Church. (See Collection 373, Interview with Dolphus Douglas Weary, and Collection 374, Interview with Artis Fletcher, for further information on the Mendenhall Ministries.)

Adams served as administrator of the school and saw it expand from a pre-school and kindergarten to classes through the sixth grade. She resigned from her position because she felt the students of the school, many of whom came from one-parent families, had no strong Christian male role-model in their lives and she hoped a new director could provide that kind of leadership. The school did hire a black male administrator and a black male teacher but in 1987 they lost both.

After Adams left the school, she became Administrative Assistant for The Mendenhall Ministries which in 1987 involved work with three different programs: a summer meal program that provided meals for seventy-five to one hundred twelve children, an enrichment program for children ages three to twelve, and a Christian youth leadership development program.

The Mendenhall Ministries was a successor of Voice of Calvary Ministries in Mendenhall, founded and originally led by John Perkins. The ministry operated on a holistic model of addressing community and personal needs, whether medical, social, legal, economic, educational, or spiritual in nature. Voice of Calvary shifted its emphasis from rural to urban when Perkins moved to Jackson, MS. In 1978, Voice of Calvary--Mendenhall separated from Voice of Calvary--Jackson and in 1981 took the name The Mendenhall Ministries.

Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Judith Adams in June 1987.

Accession 87-81

October 15, 1993

Janyce H. Nasgowitz

B. Phillips
Title
Collection 372 Oral History Interview with Judith Adams
Description rules
dacs
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Billy Graham Center Archives Repository

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