[Congressional Record Volume 157, Number 50 (Thursday, April 7, 2011)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E659-E660]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                         HON. CHARLES B. RANGEL

                              of new york

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, April 7, 2011

  Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Speaker, I rise today in celebration of the Life, 
Legacy, Leadership and Love of our Village Mother of Harlem and my 
longtime friend and confidant, Dr. Thelma Davidson Adair.
  On Sunday, April 3, 2011, the Mount Morris Ascension Church and the 
Greater Harlem community join together to celebrate the wonderful 
legacy and work of our ``Educator, Pioneer, Activist, Mother, Grand & 
Great Grandmother,'' Dr. Thelma Davidson Adair.
  Dr. Adair, a Harlem icon and matriarch, is a graduate of Barber-
Scotia Jr. College, Concord, North Carolina and Bennett College, 
Greensboro, North Carolina. She earned a Master's Degree and Doctorate 
of Education from Teacher's College, Columbia University. This 
outstanding remarkable woman has been an outstanding educator, world-
renowned church leader, advocate of human rights, peace and justice 
issues, writer and public speaker.
  Beginning her life in the ``Jim Crow South,'' in North Carolina, she 
refused to let social limitations stand in the way of sharing her gift 
for teaching with the world. Thelma Davidson met and married the 
Reverend Dr. Arthur Eugene

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Adair, founder and Senior Pastor of the landmarked Mount Morris 
Ascension Presbyterian Church. Eugene and Thelma through God's 
unyielding hand contributed their talent, energy, generosity and 
educated minds in service to the children and families of Harlem, New 
York City and beyond. They are responsible for organizing many of 
Harlem's first Head Start programs, including the Mount Morris New Life 
Children's Day Care Center.
  In 1976, Dr. Thelma C. Davidson Adair became the first African-
American woman to be elected Moderator of the Presbyterian Church 188th 
Assembly. Her efforts and involvement with the Presbyterian Church have 
been nationally recognized by foreign and national heads of states and 
United States presidents.
  An expert in early childhood education, Adair is Professor Emeritus 
of the City University of New York's Queens College, where she taught 
for 31 years. She also taught religious education at Union Theological 
Seminary, was a lecturer at the University of Ghana and Columbia 
University, and trained members of the U.S. Peace Corps for service in 
Africa, South America and the Caribbean.
  Through all her tremendous efforts and achievements, Dr. Adair has 
been duly honored, receiving countless awards and numerous Honorary 
Doctorate Degrees. Her impressive resume of accomplishments does not 
speak to the deep connections the community feels for her as a mother 
to all. Dr. Adair shares her wisdom and love with so many people in 
unofficial contexts, providing mentorship and friendship to Harlem's 
youth. Her role as a community leader does not end when she leaves the 
church and her life of service to the world in the face of very real 
social challenges sets an example for us all.
  The Arthur Eugene and Thelma Adair Community Life Center, Inc. Head 
Start serves over 250 children and their families annually in five Head 
Start Centers in Harlem. Dr. Adair's publications on early childhood 
education have become an authoritative guide for early childhood 
educators throughout the United States. Today, Dr. Adair is an ordained 
elder in the Mount Morris Ascension Presbyterian Church of New York 
City, the church founded by her late husband the Reverend Arthur Eugene 
  Her numerous awards and degrees include: The Thelma C. Adair Award on 
Presbyterian Senior Services; Barber-Scotia Alumni Award for 
Meritorious Service in the Field of Education; Columbia University, 
Teacher's College Distinguished Alumni Award; United Negro College Fund 
Distinguished Award for Outstanding Service and Commitment of Higher 
Education; and Woman of the Year Award.
  Her current affiliations include: Chair, Presbyterian Senior 
Services; Advisor, Church Women United, National Board; Board of 
Visitor, Davidson College; Advisory Council, National Council of 
Churches; Member, Harlem Hospital Community Advisory Board.
  During her prestigious career of service, Dr. Adair has worked 
closely with leaders, including the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther 
King, Jr. and Presidents John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson and Jimmy 
Carter, to bring about social justice and economic empowerment. She 
even was a part of President William Jefferson Clinton's delegation 
that attended the historic inauguration of South African President 
Nelson Mandela.
  Mr. Speaker, please join me in tribute of the living life, legacy, 
leadership and love of our beloved Village Mother of Harlem, Dr. Thelma 
C. Davidson Adair's 90 years of service to a very grateful nation.