Charles P. Adams wasn’t expecting his life to change so drastically. Adams was a student at Tuskegee Institute and was a committed mentee of Booker T. Washington.
Adams worked his way through school and planned to pursue law after graduating in 1901. But a surprise request from Washington would lead him to change his mind.
The North Louisiana Farmer’s Relief Association, an organization led by Black farmers in Louisiana, wanted a recommendation from Booker T. Washington of someone who could help build a school for Black people in Louisiana. Adams was Washington's first choice, so he made the ask.
Washington respected Adam’s desire to become a lawyer, but pleaded with him to take the project on as he felt that a new university would help advance our people. Adams agreed and put his dreams of law school on hold. The result was the creation of Grambling State University.
The relationship between Charles P. Adams and Booker T. Washington reminds us that we can learn from Black people of all ages, and that mentorship and relationship-building across generations can change Black lives for decades to come. Let’s continue to work together.