Voices of the Faithful: R.C. Adams
Today, OurCityOnAHill honors the many Veterans who have courageously served our country. It is our privilege to share the life, legacy and faith of Army Hero, R.C. Adams, who served in World War II and has also served our city in countless ways since then.
Voices of the Faithful – R.C. Adams
As we pulled up to the home of 101-year-old R.C. Adams with a tiny baby in tow, we could not help but recognize the juxtaposition of the generations and the unique opportunity to connect them. As we made our way into Mr. Adams’ home that was built with his own hands, two worlds were linked, if only for a short time. However, putting pen to page documents a legacy that links hearts for eternity. Thank you Mr. Adams and “voices of the faithful” for sharing your life’s wisdom with OurCityOnAHill and the next generation!
“R.C.” Adams has seen a lot in his 101 years of life. Hero of World War II, veteran of the civil rights struggle and personally responsible for more than 10,000 people becoming registered voters, Adams’ story sounds like a movie. But it’s real and talking with him about what he has seen in the last century is like opening up a living history book.
When asked what his biggest trial and triumph was, Adams said, “dealing with the community and getting black folks to fill out that application and register to vote.” He mentioned that when he moved to Huntsville, the doctors at A&M were not even registered. Adams helped organize the Madison County Voter’s League that helped register over 10,000 voters. But it was not met without resistance. He shared about helping bring Dr. Martin Luther King to Huntsville to speak at A&M, First Baptist and Oakwood. “After he came, we had 400-500 people to the poll to register to vote…and they turned all of us down.” Adams shared about the start of Community Action Agency that is still in existence now and how Mr. Cummings called on him to help. “Just about every black person in Huntsville…I had something to do with them voting.”
Bobby Bradley, Huntsville Native, shared fond memories of having Mr. Adams drive her and others to Butler High School in a taxicab when the schools integrated. As she and Mr. Adams looked through old pictures, you could feel the deep roots of a loving community and generations of families who were knit together during a time of adversity. Such rich history in that neighborhood off Pulaski!
When asked about his faith journey, Mr. Adams shared his childhood. He was number two of eleven children. “My mother and daddy came from slavery…he was an old preacher.” He talked about growing up in church and training to be a deacon at age 12. “There wasn’t but two churches, Methodist and Baptist, and we went to both.” He said that the only time he forgot about Jesus was in the army. He didn’t think about his mama, his sister or God. “I think they give you medicine so you don’t think about anything but fighting.” He said he had to come back to Jesus after getting out of the army. “I left the Lord, but He never left me. He still takes care of me. He has done what He promised.”
When asked what he would like the next generation to know, his reply was simple, “put their phones down and pull their pants up. Work hard and learn. Do good and help others.” His favorite president, before President Barak Obama, was Jimmy Carter because President Carter wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and help others. “I believe in helping people…we should be thinking about somebody to help who can’t help themselves.” He stated that he has been married to his wife for 45 years. Mr. Adams couldn’t recall his favorite sermon, but he made sure we knew that country pastors preach the best because they “stick to the word.” He said he liked Dr. Martin Luther King’s sermons. “He put a whole lot I would be looking for in his sermons…what kept him going was the Bible…he believed it.”
Mr. Adams parks in a designated parking space for the oldest member of his church, Progressive Union Missionary Baptist Church, where Dr. Snodgrass is his pastor. He also has a special seat right up front where he sits. “It keeps me living,” he said about his church. He said his pastor loves him and his church members cut the grass in his front yard. Mr. Adams won’t allow them to cut his grass in the back because he has a garden where he grows food that he likes to eat; collards, squash, green beans, tomatoes, okra… When asked what the difference is between the garden food and that in the store he said, “You can taste the difference. That food at the store has been built. They rush everything nowadays.”
Mr. Adams recently received an award from President Obama honoring him for his service to our Country and wishing him a Happy 100th Birthday. He has also received a resolution from Mayor Tommy Battle.
When asked if he could do one thing what it would be, he said, “If I was strong enough, I would tell those young folks to put down those things they are looking at all the time (his hands motioned a phone) and go to work and learn something.” He mentioned he had only been out of work three weeks in all his days. “If somebody didn’t give me a job, I made one.” He also said, “be good, give help to anyone you feel needs some help.”
Mr. Adams said he tries to be as active as possible and stay healthy. “I’m still driving,” he laughed. “I’ve got another 100. I ain’t ready to go.” His life and legacy continue to bless our nation, the city of Huntsville and the many lives he has touched over the past century.
As our time came to an end, we prayed together and hugged like old friends. Listening to the hum of traffic from the 565 over-pass, a sound Mr. Adams reminded us had not always been there, we made our way out of the “wardrobe” of sorts. The wardrobe in the Chronicles of Narnia was a magical portal that linked earth through to the world of Narnia, if only for a short time. Our moments with Mr. Adams linked generations from zero to 101 as we celebrated the legacy of Christ in Our City and our common love for Him.
We had the privilege of walking through a century escorted by royalty. Mr. R.C. Adams is a son of the King of Kings and he shared glimpses of glory with us, so that we could share them with you!
“We are going public with this, as public as a city on a hill!” Matthew 5:14 MSG