Date of Award

Summer 5-2022

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Rebecca Tuuri

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Kevin Greene

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Heather Stur

Committee Member 3 School



Understanding the life and legacy of Victoria Gray Adams (1926-2006) is key to appreciating the role of middle-aged African-American women activists in Mississippi during the Civil Rights Movement. She was born and raised in Palmers Crossing, a self-sustaining black community just south of Hattiesburg. Her upbringing fostered pride and a sense of independence in herself as a black person, which eventually influenced her efforts to inspire the local community’s involvement in the movement. Her participation and remarkable leadership in various Civil Rights groups helped solidify her role as a local, state, and national leader. The roles she held throughout her life made her one of the most significant political leaders to emerge from Hattiesburg and the state of Mississippi.

Civil Rights Movement history focuses on leaders that were either in their twenties with no children of their own or elder leaders whose children were already grown and out of the house. Adams fell into neither group but instead belonged to a group of leaders who were in their thirties and forties. This thesis highlights the leadership and life of Victoria Gray Adams, who was remarkable for her independence, organizing skill, and high-profile Civil Rights activism. Throughout Adams's life, she pushed for black self-determination by helping those around her gain the knowledge, skills, and support to improve their lives and their communities.

Available for download on Sunday, May 12, 2024

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