Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 2017

Publication Title

Chicago History








The influence of educators Paul Adams and Walter Massey extends far beyond Chicago. Both men share Southern roots: they grew up in racially-segregated urban communities and migrated to Chicago in search of employment opportunity. For more than forty-five years, Adams has served as the director of guidance, principal, and president of Providence St. Mel’ School in Chicago’s East Garfield Park neighborhood. Adams’s avid fund raising saved the school from closing in the 1970s and attracted the interest of and personal visits by President Ronald Reagan. In the ensuing decades, Adams was instrumental in transforming the school into what one study called the “model for urban education” in the United States.1 For more than half a century, Massey has been a national leader in the promotion of science, technological innovation, and making technology accessible to wider segments of the American population. The physicist and selftaught business executive has served as president, chairman, or director of Morehouse College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Science Foundation, Argonne National Laboratory, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Society of Black Physicists, and Bank of America.


Author Posting. © Chicago History Museum 2017. This article is posted here by permission of the CHM for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in Chicago History, 2017,

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.