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Former Extension agent overcame adversity
Liberty lore
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For 33 years, Liberty County was lucky to have a very dedicated county extension service employee. Alfreta Adams was one of the most respected people in the area by the time she retired from her public office in 1988. But that wasn’t always the case.
Adams, who is no longer with us, was 8 years old and living in Charleston, S.C., when her mother died. Her older sister died just before her mother. Adams still had three siblings and their father never remarried. He tried to act as both a mother and a father to his children. He struggled, but tried hard to make things all right for the family. Adams’ father had a good job at a time when many African Americans did not have a good income. He was a brickman on a railroad, and he sent his children to Mather Academy, an exclusive school for black students.
When Adams’ father’s job transferred him to Savannah, the child and her siblings did not want to move. They did not know anyone in the big, strange city and had no relatives there. After the move, their father was on the road a lot, but the family managed. Adams’ father inspired his children to be productive, responsible people, and that kept them motivated.  
After she graduated high school, Alfreta Adams attended Savannah State College and graduated in 1954. The next year, she joined the state extension service office. She came to Liberty County as a home demonstration agent for black residents. Her white counterpart, Virginia Biggers, retired in 1969 at which time Adams was temporarily put in charge of home demonstrations for black and white residents.
After Biggers left, her job was vacant for years. Naturally, Adams applied to take over the position permanently. She was moved up to be a county extension agent, but the office did not fill her old position, so she still handled both jobs.
Although Liberty was one of the first counties in Georgia to allow black people to vote, racism still existed.
“There was not a place downtown where I could go for lunch. There was one lady who owned a restaurant — that is no longer there — who kept after a friend and me to come eat at her restaurant. She said she wanted us to patronize her restaurant, because she had a real nice place for blacks to eat in the back,” Alfreta once told me.
“Another restaurant would not allow blacks to order or eat inside the restaurant. If you were black, you had to go to the kitchen to get your food. Maybe they thought too much was going out the back, so they built a window blacks could order from,” she said. “I went to one restaurant and sat down to be served and nothing happened. You would just have to sit there and sit there and when they saw you were going to ‘outsit’ them, they would take your order.”
Alfreta Adams said she was insulted frequently by white people in the county after she became the extension agent. She dealt with many unkind remarks and a lack of cooperation. She told me she cried a lot, but one day she made up her mind that she would dry her tears and cry no more. She said she knew she had the knowledge and devotion to do her job well. Because of her dignity and determination to befriend everyone, Adams became one of the most respected people in Liberty County.
She had other interests. Adams adopted children, Marty Tyrone Adams and Rosalynn Adams. She was very active in politics. Adams’ three rose gardens were truly magnificent.  She devoted a lot of time to her roses and had more than 100 blueberry bushes in her backyard. I knew Alfreta personally and attended many of the seminars she coordinated for the public — especially around the holidays. She always behaved professionally.
Recently, I was sifting through some old newspaper clippings and I came across one I had cut out from the Coastal Courier on Nov. 11, 1981.  It is a recipe for Alfreta Adams’ “aggression cookies.” I wonder if she created the recipe to help her deal with her frustration as she set out to do her job efficiently in the face of adversity.

Aggression cookies
3 cups brown sugar
3 cups margarine
6 cups oatmeal
3 cups plain flour
1 tablespoon soda
Put all ingredients in large bowl and mash, knead, squeeze and pound the dough. The more aggression you put into the dough, the better the cookies will taste. Form the mixture into small balls and put them on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Butter the bottom of a small glass and dip the glass into granulated sugar. Use the bottom of the glass to mash the balls flat. Butter the glass only once or twice but dip it in sugar after mashing each ball.
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes. This recipe makes about 15 dozen cookies. Remember, making these cookies is more important than how they look or taste. Take all your anger out on the dough.

Love is a history buff and writes Liberty lore periodically for the Courier.
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