Juanita Adams – A Lifelong Advocate
Juanita Adams was an energetic civil rights activist with a deep-seated desire to do what was right. She created the Milwaukee chapter of Congress of Racial Equality and led sit-ins.
She became the first Black woman in uniform to head training for the NYPD.
Early Life and Education
Juanita was born in Hot Springs, Arkansas to parents who showed feature films at church basements for African Americans to see movies. As she got older she developed an interest in civil rights issues. As such she became active with Congress of Racial Equality Milwaukee Chapter and participated in many demonstrations.
She began working for the Cincinnati Health Department as a stenographer before rising through the ranks to become Registrar and Director of Vital Records and Statistics – becoming the first African American to occupy this role in a city of nearly 400,000 residents.
Adams was a dedicated mother and family member, always present in her community and making an impactful mark in others’ lives. Her grandchildren remember her fondly as being kind, protective, and an excellent matriarch to the clan.
She has over two decades of experience counseling individuals, and believes each person to be unique. She strives to establish individual goals while taking time to assess her client’s strengths.
She specializes in treating trauma and family issues and holds a Master’s of Counseling as well as certification in EMDR therapy. She sees therapy as both an experience and partnership journey.
She offers individuals guidance to overcome barriers, alter perspectives, and reach personal and professional goals. In addition, she assists clients with relationship problems, anxiety depression and other forms of mental illness. With a private practice in Milwaukee WI she also maintains a blog and serves as an active speaker. Passionate about social justice and equality.
Achievement and Honors
Juanita was an active public servant and self-help advocate who served in numerous positions throughout her lifetime, such as becoming the first African American registrar/director of vital records and statistics in her city and registration district.
She became a respected civil rights leader, challenging segregation in Milwaukee. She participated in the March on Washington and founded Milwaukee Chapter of Congress for Racial Equality.
At the same time, she served as a police officer in the 9th, 10th, and 13th precincts; later becoming Chief of Training for the NYPD as its first uniformed Black woman ever; her community service and activism was honored with an honorary street name in Milwaukee; furthermore she loved traveling extensively as well as creating quilts.
Juanita Adams was one of the founding members of the Milwaukee Chapter of the Congress of Racial Equality. Her aim was to combat unjust and racist treatment of black people living in Milwaukee; she organized sit-ins, participated in rallies, marched in Washington D.C. etc.
Son recalled her as being an attentive mother who endeavored to give her daughters an ideal childhood. Additionally, she served on the boards of Paddock Hills Community Association and National Underground Railroad Freedom Center as trustees and boardsmembers respectively.
Sheila Adams Gardner is an attorney, mediator and coparenting coach who wrote two children’s books to honor the legacy of activism left by her grandmother as well as guide others through the challenges associated with divorced parenting. Additionally, Sheila founded Cooperative Strategies Family Law in Washington DC.
At Mt. Horeb Missionary Baptist Church in South Dallas, she served as chair soloist, Sunday School pianist and Baptist Training Union pianist; additionally she had long been involved with their scholarship committee.
She has an estimated net worth of approximately $200 million, the bulk of her wealth coming from a divorce settlement with Michael Jordan that included a single sum payment of $168 million and her share in their Highland Park estate.
After her divorce, she has maintained a low profile and has not remarried. Instead, she enjoys collecting artwork by African American creators as an avid art collector, and sits on the board of Reel Beauty Inc, a mentoring organization for young females in Chicago.