She Served With Honor: Major Charity Adams Earley 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion (1918 - 2002)

5/7/2010 9 comment(s)
It is with great pleasure and pride that I prepare this post. Although Charity Adams Earley is not a member of my personal family tree, that won’t stop me from bragging on her accomplishments all the same.

Crowned with the honor of being the first African-American woman commissioned as an officer in the Women’s Army Corps, Major Adams hailed from Columbia, SC. Born unto a Southern Minister and a School Teacher, Adams was the eldest of four children.

Already an established school teacher, Adams enlisted in the military in 1942, optimistic and eager to make a difference in a bitter war, as an ally for a country that chose not to acknowledge her rights as a person.

By the spring of 1945, nearing the end of WWII, incoming mail for the soldiers had all but come to a standstill. With the troops in constant movement, daily casualties coupled with lots of care packages from home, the military’s mail problem was insurmountable. Thus, grew the need for the 6888th Central Postal Battalion. Adams was chosen to head up this unit. Skilled in the art of organization, Adams had her troops processing mail round the clock in 8 hour shifts, 24 hours per day.

The 6888th Central Postal Battalion, which was the Army’s only African-American unit was the only unit to serve overseas during World War II. Being Commander of this unit was a very distinguished honor, considering the limits on positions held by minorities in the military.

Adams’ career was laced with adversity and hardship. She yet prevailed. In 1989, thirteen years before her death, she penned her memories of the military, adding author to her list of accomplishments.

After gaining the rank of lieutenant colonel, Adams left the military in 1946. As a civilian, she went on to earn multiple post-secondary degrees, lived abroad, and volunteered tirelessly in many philanthropic community projects. She passed away in 2002, leaving behind a legacy of courage, tenacity and perseverance, not easily rivaled. Hats off to you, Major Charity Adams Earley. Thank you for your service. You are a true inspiration to all.

WAAC Capt. Charity Adams of Columbia, SC, who was commissioned from the first officer candidate class, and the first of her group to receive a commission, drills her company on the drill ground at the first WAAC Training Center, Fort Des Moines, Iowa.' May 1943. 111-SC-23865. Courtesy of the National Archives


Comments

Sandra Taliaferro Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 5:42:54 AM
Amy,
Great post! Thanks for sharing it.
Tom McKnight Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 5:43:20 AM
Dear Amy,
Another sterling presentation of a Profile In Courage person;
the little ones among us who are really the giants and who go unmentioned and mostly unrecognized; becoming members of the long gone and forgotten club; that is, until someone like you, like us, like others who realize the importance of keeping history alive so that our grand, great-grand, and great-great-grand-children will not have to succumb to cultural, historic and tradition Alzheimers questioning who they are as individuals, as families, as communities and as a Nation. A nation, its strength and greatness is measured by all who contributed to its existence and moreover, who recognize those who were, and remain part of the process. Again, which will be repeated many times over with my "thank yous" in future blog contributions - thank you for your history preservation passion and the creative ability for getting the message out to those needing such nourishment. I enjoy learning new things and this has been another added treat for my brain cells. As we celebrate another Mother's Day, let us all remember that Mothers are not just Mothers to children but are Mothers of the Nation. This is another story that honors a gender and African American cultural thread contribution that makes us who we are, indivudually, at the the family, community and National level.
Best regards,
Tom McKnight
Angela Y. Walton-Raji Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 5:44:33 AM
How wonderful to see this piece about a woman who served her nation. Actually seeing the footage reflecting the entire company of women patriots was truly enlightening. Thanks for posting it.
-Angela-
Clarence Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 5:45:11 AM
Hi Amy,
This is very good and educational. I had not heard of her or this battalion before. Dittio to everything Mr. Mc knight above wrote My military history classes, (22 years) never covered this. I would not be surprised if I see a documentarty completed by you.....any subject!
Clarence
Amy (Admin) Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 5:45:30 AM
Sandra, Tom, Angela & Clarence,

Thank you for sharing in this story with me. Major Adams has become my new SHEro. My favorite part of the video is around 1:45 when she is looking that soldier up and down during an inspection. Priceless! You all are right. Not enough in the history books about women like this.

-AMY
Mavis Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 5:45:54 AM
Wow, I'm learning about so many interesting people as a result of this carnival.
DionneFord Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 5:46:47 AM
Thank you so much Amy for sharing this inspiring post and for hosting this carnival. I've received quite an education from these blogs and I look forward to sharing this one in particular with my daughters!
Best,
Dionne
Pat Jay Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 5:47:20 AM
Thanks you for this excellent film footage of the women of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion! I didn't see a comment about where it was taken, but believe it shows the 6888th in Birmingham, England, either on arrival or shortly thereafter, and during a special review by the U.S. general in charge of logistics and support, LTG JCH Lee (the three star general seen several times in the video). Major Charity Adams Early and her executive officer, Captain Abbie Campbell, are seen with the 6888th troops. Their outstanding military appearance and marching set a high standard!

Their story is truly remarkable -- the ONLY African American WACs allowed to serve overseas, they achieved an outstanding record of efficiency and mission accomplishment. For a very well done and highly readable account of this exceptional unit see Dr. Brenda L. Moore's book, _To Serve My Country, To Serve My Race_. Dr. Moore, a WAC veteran herself, has made a significant contribution to women's history with this book.
Charles E. Johnson, Army Vet. Wednesday, January 25, 2012 - 5:48:18 AM
I come from a family of WWII and Viet Nam veterans - father brother and uncles; and a community of soldiers, mostly 101st. Airborne Division. Then it was my fortune to be assigned to Ft. Campbell, KY; home of the 101st. In my research of Black Military History, I had never heard of this battalion until very recently. This story made me honored and proud, and as I recalled my own experiece of Command Inspection and Pass In Review the vidio brought me to tears. Needless to say, as I follow my father into the American Legion, I am standing taller than before.

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