Juanita M. Adams
Juanita M. Adams received her education in Cincinnati Public Schools, attending Dyer Elementary, Bloom Junior High, and finally graduating from the Old Woodward High School/Commercial Division. She also attended the University of Cincinnati and is a graduate of the United Way Project BluePrint Leadership Training Program. In 1949, when interviewed by a junior high school counselor about her selection for high school, she indicated that she wanted to attend “Commercial Vocational” which was located in Old Woodward High School.
The response from the counselor was that there were no jobs for blacks in the secretarial field and East Vocational would be a better choice where she could take sewing, cooking, and learn to operate power machines. Juanita responded by saying “Well, I will have to be the best that I can be, and just maybe there will be some jobs available when I finish”. From 1952 to 1953, while still in high school, she was considered one of the best in typing, shorthand, and secretarial subjects and was offered a co-op position at Lincoln Heights High School.
Determined to succeed, she traveled from her home in the West End on the General Electric Auto-Lite bus every morning at 6:00 A.M. to reach her destination. Upon graduating from high school in June of 1953, Juanita began a career and love affair with the City of Cincinnati Board of Health as a Junior Stenographer. She was the first African American to hold the position of secretary to the Department s Chief Clinic Physician. Under her leadership, Juanita created a number of “firsts” in transforming the way the Cincinnati Health Department conducted business in the area of health and community service through the utilization of interpersonal skills and technology.
She maintained a system of excellence, providing citizens with superb service and essential information on birth and death certification and statistics. Juanita retired in 1993, having attained the position of Registrar/Director of Vital Records-Statistics. She was the first African American to hold this position in the City of Cincinnati and the first in the State of Ohio in a registration district of over 400,000 residents. Juanita hardly became sedentary upon her retirement. She lived her life devoted to public service in a multiplicity of causes. As an advocate of self-help, she was always about creating opportunities for others. She employed young people from the various inner-city community summer and after-school programs, such as Citizens Committee on Youth and Neighborhood Youth Corps.
Her career experience and extensive volunteer work illustrated her ability to network locally and nationally, within both the corporate community and non-profit agency arena as well. Ms. Adams was always active, always getting involved, always striving to help others. She was the epitome of someone who gave of herself and her time to the larger community, with no other reward other than the satisfaction of knowing that she touched the lives of others. To Juanita, everyone was special.
Ms. Adams was a Life Member of the NAACP. For six years, she served as First Vice President, and during 2011 she served as Interim President of the Cincinnati Branch. She believed in the mission of the NAACP. She served on a number of committees and supported all fund-raising activities. In recognition of her service, the Juanita M. Adams Scholarship Fund (3872) was established in 2013 with the assistance of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.