Charity Adams Earley

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Charity A. Earley
Birth name Charity Edna Adams
Born December 5, 1917 [1]
Kittrell, North Carolina
Died January 13, 2002(2002-01-13) (aged 83)
Dayton, Ohio
Service/branch Women's Army Auxiliary Corps
Years of service 1942 − 1946
Rank Lieutenant Colonel
Commands held 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion
Other work Educator

Charity Edna Adams Earley (1918–2002) was the first African American woman to be an officer in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (later WACS) and was the commanding officer of the first battalion of African American women to serve overseas during World War II.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in 1917 in Kittrell, North Carolina, Adams' father was a minister and her mother was a teacher.[2] Adams was the oldest of four children. She graduated from Booker T. Washington High School and Wilberforce University in Ohio, majoring in math and physics.[2] After graduation she returned to Columbia, teaching school and attended graduate school at Ohio State University during the summer months.[2]


Women's Army Corps[edit]

Adams enlisted in the U.S. Army's Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in July 1942.[2] She was the first African American woman to be an officer in the WAAC. Later she served as the commanding officer and battalion commander of the first battalion of African American women (6888th Central Postal Direction) to serve overseas during WWII (in England). They helped soldiers get mail during World War II.


After serving in the Army, she earned a master’s degree in psychology from Ohio State University and became an educator at Tennessee A&I College and Georgia State College.[2]


In 1949 Adams married Stanley A. Earley. She moved to Switzerland for a time while her husband was a medical student. She returned to the US and settled in Dayton, Ohio.[2]

Awards and honors[edit]

Adams was listed on the Smithsonian Institution’s 110 most important historical Black women, Black Women Against the Odds, in 1982. She was inducted into the Ohio Women's Hall of Fame in 1979 and the Ohio Veterans Hall of Fame in 1993. She was inducted into the South Carolina Black Hall of Fame in 1991.[2]

Earley was included in the 1997 edition of the BellSouth African-American History Calendar.[2]



  1. ^ "North Carolina, Birth Index, 1800-2000," index,, Charity Edna Adams, 05 Dec 1917; from "North Carolina, Birth and Death Indexes, 1800-2000,", citing vol. 4, p. 349, Vance, North Carolina, North Carolina State Archives, Raleigh.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h "Charity Edna Adams Earley". University of South Carolina Aiken. June 10, 2002. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 

External links[edit]