Black History Month Profile: J.P. And MaryEllen Adams

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J.P. and Maryellen Adams

J.P. and Maryellen Adams

The Morgan County NAACP celebrates Black History Month at Union Springs

By Tia Lynn Lecorchick STAFF WRITER

Madison Mayor Fred Perriman, president and co-founder of the Morgan County African American Museum, came to this newspaper with the idea of choosing four married couples in the community to be spotlighted during Black History Month in February. J.P. Adams, 91, and Maryellen Adams, 89, celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary this year.

The couple met in downtown Madison in the early 1940s as teenagers and dated for almost two years before deciding to get married in 1944. “I saw her walking down the street, I liked what she was wearing, and that was it for me,” joked J.P. Adams. “He started talking to me and visiting me at the house. He was a very nice man to me. The more time I spent with him, the more I knew he was a man of his word,” said Maryellen Adams.

The couple had one son, who passed away in 1991, and an adopted daughter together who now lives in New York. The Adams have four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. J.P Adams worked for a railroad company and Maryellen Adams became a beautician for the old Mapp-Gilmore funeral home in downtown Madison. But in 1955, the couple moved to New York to find better employment opportunities.

“We always loved Madison, but at that time, there wasn’t a lot of work for us,” said J.P Adams. The Adams lived in New York and New Jersey for a total of 28 years before returning to Madison in 1981. “We finally came home,” said Maryellen Adams.

Once they returned to Madison, The Adams worked together at Morgan County High School, overseeing the maintenance department. The Adams are now living out their retirement years in peace, proud of how they have stuck together for so long. Maryellen Adams encourages young people to choose a mate wisely and make the tough sacrifices in their marriages if they want them to last.

“Make sure you marry a man of their word,” she said. “We had hard times, but my husband worked for us. We didn’t suffer for food because he worked for us. But nowadays, men don’t want to take care of their kids, of their families, of their marriage.”

“We love each other and take care of each other. That’s how we made it,” said J.P. Adams. “If you treat people nice, you’ll get the same kind of treatment back. You gotta treat each other right. You will have your ups and downs, but you gotta stick together,” said Adams. And stick together the Adams did, from their late teens and now entering their 90s. “I just wanted to work and take care of my family and my wife. That’s what life is all about. I have been very lucky in my life. We have been very blessed,” said J.P. Adams.

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