Crowned with the honor of being the first African-American woman commissioned as an officer in the Women’s Army Corps, Major Adams hailed from Columbia, SC. Born unto a Southern Minister and a School Teacher, Adams was the eldest of four children.
Already an established school teacher, Adams enlisted in the military in 1942, optimistic and eager to make a difference in a bitter war, as an ally for a country that chose not to acknowledge her rights as a person.
By the spring of 1945, nearing the end of WWII, incoming mail for the soldiers had all but come to a standstill. With the troops in constant movement, daily casualties coupled with lots of care packages from home, the military’s mail problem was insurmountable. Thus, grew the need for the 6888th Central Postal Battalion. Adams was chosen to head up this unit. Skilled in the art of organization, Adams had her troops processing mail round the clock in 8 hour shifts, 24 hours per day.
The 6888th Central Postal Battalion, which was the Army’s only African-American unit was the only unit to serve overseas during World War II. Being Commander of this unit was a very distinguished honor, considering the limits on positions held by minorities in the military.
Adams’ career was laced with adversity and hardship. She yet prevailed. In 1989, thirteen years before her death, she penned her memories of the military, adding author to her list of accomplishments.
After gaining the rank of lieutenant colonel, Adams left the military in 1946. As a civilian, she went on to earn multiple post-secondary degrees, lived abroad, and volunteered tirelessly in many philanthropic community projects. She passed away in 2002, leaving behind a legacy of courage, tenacity and perseverance, not easily rivaled. Hats off to you, Major Charity Adams Earley. Thank you for your service. You are a true inspiration to all.