Fifty-six years ago, Samuel and Elenora Adams set out on a dangerous journey, driving unarmed into states where thousands of people of color had been harassed, arrested, beaten and lynched.
Samuel was a St. Petersburg Times race reporter, assigned to spend two weeks traveling the South with his wife. Only four months had gone by since the passage of the Civil Rights Act. Their mission: See what 12 southern states were really like for people of color after racial segregation was outlawed.
Despite the fear the couple felt — and the dangers that awaited them — they went anyway. Adams documented the 4,300-mile journey in a seven-part series, “Highways to Hope." Newsweek magazine would later call their journey “the most dangerous assignment in U.S. journalism."
Elenora Adams died at 92 in Waycross, Ga., on April 30. Her death came about a year after Samuel, passed on April 17, 2019. Their son, Sam. Jr., had died April 13, 2020.
To learn more about her, read the entire 1964 seven-part series Samuel wrote about their journey: