Dr. Thelma Davidson Adair arrived at her poll site in Harlem Sunday. Everyone in the neighborhood seemed to knows her, and the arrival felt like a victory lap.
She’s made this trip many times before, but as the years have gone on, it’s not gotten easier for her. Dr. Adair is 100-years-old and has mobility issues these days.
“She is in a wheelchair; however, my Aunt Thelma is still all fire. If you engage her, you will get a speech,” said her nephew Judge Milton Tingling.
Once inside the Jackie Robinson Education Complex, Dr. Adair got right to it. With the help of her son Robert, she checked in and picked up her ballot.
He recalled being three-years-old when his mother first brought him along while she voted. This time, he’s the one guiding her.
“I just felt it was my obligation, but also a tribute to my upbringing,” said her son Dr. Robert Adair.
Dr. Thelma Davidson Adair has lived through many elections. She was born a century ago during a pandemic, and now she is living through another.
She is a retired college professor, a religious and community leader, who likes to lead by example.
“I wanted people to recognize that this is the person that we can be in our lives at this moment. Also, to reaffirm the structure of our society,” said Thelma Davidson Adair.
Dr. Adair’s family asked her if she wanted to mail in an absentee ballot this year. That was not an option for her.
“I was filled with power. This is my way of speaking,” she said.
It’s a power, she said, must be put to use by future generations.