In Memoriam – Rev. Charles Gilchrist Adams – December 13, 1936 – November 29, 2023

The Rev Dr. Charles Adams (PA as many of us called him), the giant of a preacher who led the prominent Detroit church Hartford Memorial Baptist Church died at the age of 86 November 29, 2023 surrounded by his family.

PA was known as “the Harvard Hooper” for his Ivy League intellect and his animated preaching style. He has an endowed Chair at Harvard University also. He was a tenured professor at Harvard Divinity School. PA and Dr ML King met at Morehouse University where PA taught and later was a board member. PA became pastor of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church in 1967 where he built a membership of over 10,000.
PA, “a social justice warrior” was marked by a stream of efforts to boost Detroit, including meals delivered to seniors; Head Start program for over 1000 kids; tutoring; bible studies institute. Hartford’s most successful ventures included purchasing land on 7 Mile Road to spark redevelopment with restaurants like McDonalds and businesses like Home Depot, which also created jobs. PA spearheaded a collaboration with Presbyterian Villages of Michigan (where I am a board member) to launch Hartford Village Senior Community where I am also on the board.
PA became Detroit NAACP President in 1984 and led a boycott against Dearborn Michigan Businesses in protest of the city barring non -residents (Blacks) from its parks. Hartford paid the rent of Rosa Parks, a civil rights icon, until her death in 2005. Hartford was instrumental in Nelson Mandela’s visit to Detroit in 1990. Ebony Magazine named PA one of the USA greatest Black preacher’s and most influential African Americans in 1994. PA, the former president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, addressed the United Nations on South African Apartheid in 1989. PA met with many U.S. presidents and vice presdients.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said “Detroit has lost a great champion and a great man. I was deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Rev. Charles Adams, who was a tireless fighter for the people of Detroit, in particular our Seniors and Children. As a pastor of Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, Rev Adams did more than offer words of hope and inspiration from his pulpit, he created opportunity by purchasing and developing land around Hartford, including the Hartford Village Senior Citizen Community. We were fortunate to have him in our city and in our lives and he will be greatly missed. My thoughts are with his family, friends and the entire Hartford Community at this difficult time.”
Funeral Home going were held at Hartford Church Dec 14 and 15. Details are online and Swanson’s funeral Home.

Paul L. Hubbard Trustee Hartford Memorial Baptist Church.