Victoria Gray Adams

Victoria Gray Adams

Victoria Gray Adams

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Victoria Jackson Gray Adams (November 5, 1926 – August 12, 2006) was an American civil rights activist from Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She was one of the founding members of the influential Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party.

Early life and education

Born on November 5, 1926, in Palmers Crossing, just outside Hattiesburg, Mississippi, the daughter of Mack and Annie Mae (née Ott) Jackson, Victoria Jackson was raised on a farm by her grandparents; her mother had died when she was just three years old. She attended Wilberforce University for one year, but money for tuition ran short. She later studied at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama and at Jackson State College in Jackson and qualified as a teacher. She went on to serve as a campus minister at Virginia State University and to teach and lecture at schools, colleges and universities across the nation.

Civil Rights Activist

In the 1960 elections Adams taught classes in voter registration. In 1962, she became field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC), and led a boycott against Hattiesburg businesses.

In 1964, Adams, a teacher, door-to-door saleswoman of cosmetics, and leader of voter education classes, decided to run against Senator John Stennis, the Mississippi Democrat who at the time had been in the Senate for 16 years. She announced that she and others from the tiny Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, of which she was a founding member, along with Fannie Lou Hamer and Annie Devine,...
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