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Victoria Gray Adams Papers

Identifier: M345

Scope and Contents

Victoria Jackson Gray Adams, a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, was one of the most important Mississippians who participated in the Civil Rights Movement. The Victoria Gray Adams Papers contain a broad array of materials that document the life and work of this remarkable woman, including but not limited to pamphlets, newspaper clippings, certificates, correspondence, photographs, and scrapbooks.

This collection should be of interest to researchers of civil rights activities both in Mississippi and elsewhere in the South.


  • Creation: circa 1938-2000


Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; available for research

Conditions Governing Use

This collection may be protected from unauthorized copying by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code).

Biographical / Historical

Victoria Jackson Gray Adams, a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, was one of the most important black Mississippians who participated in the Civil Rights Movement. She began her civil rights activities by teaching voter registration classes in the 1960s. At that time, although thirty percent of Hattiesburg's citizens were African American, only fifty of them had been allowed to register to vote. Today, the state of Mississippi has more African American elected officials than any other state, partly because of the efforts of Victoria Gray Adams.

Victoria Almeter Jackson was born on November 5, 1926, in the Palmer's Crossing community, a historically black settlement which is now a part of the City of Hattiesburg. Her parents were Mack and Annie Mae Ott Jackson. She was a graduate of Depriest Consolidated School in Palmer's Crossing, and attended Wilberforce University, Tuskegee Institute, and Jackson State University. Her first marriage was to Tony West Gray, and three children were born of the union -- Georgie Roswitha Gray, Tony West Gray, Jr., and Cecil Conteen Gray. She later married Reuben Ernest Adams, Jr., and they became the parents of a son, Reuben Ernest Adams, III. Mrs. Adams died August 12, 2006, in Baltimore, Maryland. On September 9, 2006, a memorial service was held in her honor at Parkway Heights Methodist Church in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

Mrs. Adams was an active participant in Mississippi Freedom Summer in 1964. She was a National Board member of Dr. Martin Luther King's Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and was one of the founders of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP). She ran for the United States Senate on the MFDP ticket in 1964, the first woman to run for the Senate from Mississippi. Her career included teaching in the public schools in rural Mississippi; teaching in the Royal Thai Army Languages Academy in Bangkok, Thailand; real estate and marketing in Petersburg, Virginia; and service as Campus Minister at Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia.

Victoria Adams won numerous awards for her contributions to society. Among them are The Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Service Award and The Fannie Lou Hamer Humanitarian Award. In addition, she was one of the first three African American women invited to be seated as guests on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. The others, also Mississippians, were Fannie Lou Hamer and Annie Devine.


5 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Materials relating to her life-time of civil rights and human rights activities.


This collection consists of 11 boxes divided into four series:

Series I Created Subject Files

Series II Biographical and Personal Materials

Series III Medals and Plaques

Series IV Audio and Video Tapes

Series I consists primarily of materials relating to Mrs. Adams work in the area of civil rights, particularly the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, the National Conference for New Politics, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Southern Conference Educational Fund. Also in this series are numerous articles, pamphlets, and newspaper clippings, plus a small section of materials pertaining to "Black Power."

Series II contains items of a more personal nature, including items from Mrs. Adams' school days, certificates, correspondence, and materials from a scrapbook compiled by Mrs. Adams in the 1940s. Of particular interest are a handwritten autobiography (1945), Mrs. Adams' high school diploma, and several photographs.

Series III is comprised of various awards presented to Mrs. Adams, including the Freedom's Light Medal, Bridge Builder of the Year Award, and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Award.

Series IV consists of tapes of two events at The University of Southern Mississippi in which Mrs. Adams was involved. The first set of tapes are audio cassettes of a class taught by Mrs. Adams and her son, Dr. Cecil Gray, at The University of Southern Mississippi during the Spring 2000 semester. The course was History 478/578 (Studies in Civil Rights), and the title of the class was "Local People, Students, Women and Men in the Mississippi Movement (Mississippi History: A Close Look, A new perspective). The second set of tapes record a University Forum Lecture by Mrs. Adams on February 29, 2000, and is comprised of one compact disk and one video cassette.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Mrs. Victoria Gray Adams.

Existence and Location of Copies

For Digitized Materials from this collection, see: External Documents link at bottom of page.

Related Materials

M191 Paul B. Johnson Family Papers

M257 Jinny Glass Mississippi Freedom Summer Diary

M322 Sandra Adickes Papers

M323 Joseph and Nancy Ellin Freedom Summer Collection

M340 J.C. Fairley Civil Rights Collection

M351 Herbert Randall Freedom Summer Photographs

Photograph Log

M345-1 Georgie Roswitha Gray 2 ½ x 3 ½ B and W 1960 Georgie, the daughter of Victoria G. Adams, is seated in a office type chair. (Box 7, Folder 23)

M345-2 Mary Lee Wilborn 3 ½ x 4 B and W 1944 Head and shoulder portrait. Ms. Wilborn was a classmate of Victoria G. Adams (Box 7, Folder 23) Photographer: Henley Studio

M345-3 Unidentified Women 3 x 4 B and W 1955 Snapshot of a woman standing in a park, or garden. (Box 7, Folder 23)

M345-4 Cousin Easter 3 x 4 B and W 1950 Head and shoulders portrait. Inscribed on back, “Just to say hello. From yours, Cousin Easter” (Box 7, Folder 23)

M345-5 Dora Mae Thomas (?) 2 x 3 B and W 1950 Head and shoulders portrait of a young girl. Inscribed on back, “This is Dora Mae Thomas (?). Mrs. Gray my sweet teacher.” (Box 7, Folder 23)

M345-6 Victoria G. Adams and Three Others 4 x 6 Color 1990 Mrs. Adams is standing with Rasheeda Farid (Mrs. Adams’ “Daughter by Choice”), Edward “Geronimo” Robison (Pres., American Asso. on Mental Retardation Multicultural concerns), and her husband Reuben Adams. (Box 7, Folder 23)

M345-7 Victoria G. Adams and Two Others 4 x 6 Color 1990 Mrs. Adams is standing with Edward “Geronimo” Robinson and an unidentified woman. (Box 7, Folder 23)

M345-8 Victoria G. Adams and Five Others 4 x 6 Color 1990 Mrs. Adams is standing with her husband (Reuben Adams), Edward “Geronimo” Robinson, and three unidentified women. (Box 7, Folder 23)

M345-9 Young Girl and Soldier 5 x 7 B and W 1950 Possibly Georgia Gray and her father,(Tony Gray). Photo is badly damaged. (Box 7, Folder 23)

M345-10 Victoria Jackson Gray Adams 8 x 10 B and W 1940 Victoria is seated on a bench. (Box 7, Folder 23)

M345-11 Victoria Jackson Gray Adams’ High School Graduating Class 8 x 10 B and W 1945 1945 graduating class of Forrest County Training School, Hattiesburg, MS. (Box 7, Folder 23)

M345-12 Mrs. Addie Mae Jackson 5 x 7 B and W 1940 Head and shoulders studio portrait. (Box 7, Folder 23) Photographer: Chang’s Studio

M345-13 Victoria Jackson Gray Adams 8 x 10 Color 1950 Head and shoulders studio portrait. Image is badly damaged. (Box 7, Folder 23)

M345-14 Pencil Sketch of Victoria Jackson Gray Adams 8 ½ x 11 B and W 1950 Sketch drawn by Le Muriel Morris, Los Angeles, California (Box 7, Folder 23)

M345-15 Victoria Jackson Gray Adams with President Bill Clinton and Others 8 x 10 Color 01/17/1994 The occasion was a White House reception for leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Photo is autographed by President Clinton. (Box 7, Folder 23)

M345-16 Victoria Jackson Gray Adams Holding Plaque 4 x 5 Color 10/27/1989 Mrs. Adams is holding the Wilberforce University Alumni Association Distinguished Service Award, presented to her on Oct. 27, 1989. (Box 7, Folder 23)
Victoria Gray Adams Papers
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Historical Manuscripts and Photographs Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001