Congresswoman Alma Adams is a strong advocate for all historically black colleges and universities and North Carolina A&T State University. In September 2019, she co-sponsored a bill, the FUTURE Act that will provide permanent funding to HBCUs. With the official signing of the bill on Dec. 19, 2019, North Carolina A&T would receive close to $1.62 million annually for students who are STEM based and the funding will help support retention and recruitment of students.
Signing of U.S. Rep. Adams bill H.R. 5363, the FUTURE Act: Congresswoman Adams co-sponsored the FUTURE Act bill that was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to fund HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions permanently. Additionally, the legislation will simplify the Free Application for Federal Student Aid and eliminate paperwork for income-driven student loan repayment plans.
The enactment of the FUTURE Act will permanently guarantee $255 million a year for HBCUs that serve over eight million students of color, preparing them for careers in the STEM professions.
The House passed the initial version of the FUTURE Act on Sept. 17, 2019, to avoid a delay in funding The House later introduced a new version of the FUTURE Act and both the House and Senate passed this bill on Dec. 10, 2019. This bill was properly signed into law on Dec. 19, 2019.
The Bipartisan HBCU Caucus (Caucus) was founded by Congresswoman Alma Adams (NC-12) on April 28, 2015. The Caucus is co-chaired by Adams (D-NC) and Congressman Bradley Byrne (R-AL) and works to promote and protect the interests of HBCUs by creating a national dialogue, educating members of Congress and their staffs about the issues impacting HBCUs, drafting meaningful bipartisan legislation to address the needs of HBCUs, and supporting students and graduates of HBCUs by increasing access and career opportunities. The Caucus is bipartisan and bicameral, boosting over 50 members. There are over 100 HBCUs that educate and employ many of our constituents. They provide a vital opportunity for students that may not have otherwise pursued higher education. Despite their significant contributions, many HBCUs face serious challenges. The Caucus convenes to discuss the challenges impacting HBCUs and create meaningful policies and legislation to address them.
Congresswoman Adams began her political career in the 1980s by becoming the first African American woman elected to the Greensboro City School Board. It was then that she made a lifetime commitment to effecting social change in her community and beyond.
In 1994, Adams was appointed by her peers to serve in the North Carolina House District 26 seat. She went on to serve ten terms in the state House. During her tenure, she rose to become the chair of the North Carolina Legislative Black Caucus and was instrumental in passing legislation that improved the climate for quality affordable health care in the state and the first $3.1 billion University Bond
Referendum. She also pioneered the Displaced Homemakers Bill and in 2006, successfully spearheaded the state’s first minimum wage increase in nine years.
Adams is the founder and co-chair of the first Congressional Bi-partisan HBCU Caucus and is part of the Women’s Caucus, Diabetes Caucus, Congressional Black Caucus, Progressive Education Caucus, Historic Preservation Caucus, AIDS/HIV Caucus, Hunger Caucus, Medicaid Expansion Caucus, and the Art Caucus.
Throughout her career, Congresswoman Adams has promoted quality education for all students, spearheading legislation to boost funds for historically black colleges and universities, providing nutritious breakfasts in schools and supporting increased pay for teachers. For 40 years, she taught art at Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina. While at Bennett, she led the effort to increase student civic participation coining the phrase, “Bennett Belles are Voting Belles,” and organizing annual marches to the polls. As a former educator, Adams has dedicated her career to improving the lives of young people and her community.
In addition, Adams served nine years on the Greensboro City Council. Throughout her service to the second district in Greensboro, Adams worked to create safe and affordable housing and revitalization of neighbors.
On Jan. 31, 2020, Congresswoman Adams was awarded the N.C. A&T Human Rights Medal during the 60th Anniversary of the Sit-In Movement Breakfast.
On Feb. 15, 2019, Adams was honored by Governor Roy Cooper and First Lady Kristin Cooper for her advocacy for the arts. The honor was a celebration of Black History Month of African American musicians and artists from North Carolina.
On May 7, 2018, Adams received an honorary degree from Lincoln University.
On March 26, 2018, Adams was inducted into the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Women’s History Hall of Fame.
Congresswoman Adams is an active member of the N.C. A&T State University Alumni Association, Inc.
Congresswoman Adams was the 100th woman elected to the 113th Congress in 2014.
Adams serves on the following House Committees: Education and Labor, Financial Services and Agriculture. The Congresswoman is Chair of the Higher Education and Labor subcommittee on Workforce Protections and is Vice-chair of the Agriculture Committee.
She graduated from North Carolina A&T State University in 1968 and received her master’s degree in art education in 1972. She earned her Ph.D. in art education and multicultural education from The Ohio State University in 1981.