Dr. Dolly Desselle Adams, the wife of Bishop John Hurst Adams, was born in Marksville, Louisiana, and reared in New Orleans. The only child of the late Mr. and Mrs. Moses J. Desselle is a graduate of Xavier University Preparatory High School in New Orleans received the B.S. degree from Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Magna Cum Laude; the Master of Arts degree from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan; and the Doctorate of Education from Baylor University, Waco, Texas. Her academic preparation and strong Christian upbringing established the foundation for her life as an Educator, Christian and Civic Leader, and as Wife, Mother and Grandmother.
As an educator, Dr. Adams has held a variety of positions: Elementary teacher and administrator; College Dean and University Professor at the University of Michigan, Wilberforce University, Albany State College, Paul Quinn College, and Howard University School of Law. She last served as an Adjunct Professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Georgia
A woman of deep commitment to community service, Dr. Adams has held outstanding leadership positions in community service organizations. She served for four years as National President of The Links, Inc., and The Links Foundation, Inc., five years as National President of the Black Women’s Agenda, Inc., on the Board of Directors of the U.N.C.F., and the WHMM TV (Howard University) of Washington, D.C., Paul Quinn College, the Southern University Foundation and the sisters of Charity Foundation. Dr. Adams now serves on the Board of Directors of the Black Women’s Agenda, Inc., the WMS Foundation and the Links, Inc. From 1982-86, Dr. Adams was cited as one of the 100 Most Influential Black Americans by Ebony Magazine, and Dollars & Sense Magazine named her as one of the Top 100 Black Business and Professional Women 1986 and 1987. Dr. Adams is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and the N.A.A.C.P.
Her role as Episcopal Supervisor of the Women’s Missionary Society (WMS) and the Ministers’ Wives of the Tenth (Texas), Second (Mid-Atlantic States), Sixth (Georgia) and Seventh (South Carolina) and Eleventh (Florida and Bahamas) Episcopal Districts covered a span of 32 years. Dr. Adams led the WMS, YPD and Ministers’ Spouses into active participation in civic, religious, economic, political and social endeavors. Examples of her leadership are the involvement of the WMS in foster care and adoption, support for cancer research, the digging of water wells in Africa, establishing day care centers for homeless and abused women and children and the Big MAK (Missionary Advocates for Kids). She leaves her mark with the educationally and spiritually enriching retreats conducted for WMS, YPD, and Ministers Spouses. She was instrumental in establishing and funding the only African American Adoption Center in South Carolina, administered by the Reid House of Christian Service. In recognition of her services in South Carolina, the Governor presented to her the Order of the Palmetto, the highest citation given by the State to a citizen.
Dr Adams is married to the Right Reverend John Hurst Adams, 87th Bishop in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Bishop Adams served the church as Bishop for 32 years, 16 of which he served as senior Bishop. They are the parents of three successful daughters: Mrs. Gaye Adams Massey, General Counsel for United Health Groups of Minneapolis, Minn; Dr. Jann Adams, Chairperson of Psychology Department, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia; and Mrs. Madelyn R. Adams Executive Director East Lake Foundation, Atlanta, Ga.
Bishop and Mrs. Adams are the proud grandparents of Amina Desselle Massey and Amilcar Kamau Massey and Nyah Estelle Massey; Mitchell Gino Brogdon, Jr., John H. Adams-Brogdon, and Malcolm Moses Adams Brogdon; and Harrison Avery Adams Cobb and Timothy Fitzgerald S. Cobb, Jr.
The Adams currently reside in Atlanta, Georgia.