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Widow helps dedicate former band room building to Newton arts legend
Adams dedication
Newton County Historical Committee members and County Commissioner J.C. Henderson stand with Louise Adams to cut the ribbon dedicating the arts center to T.K. Adams Thursday in the former R.L. Cousins High School band room. - photo by Tom Spigolon

COVINGTON, Ga. — Newton County Historical Committee’s new arts center in the old R. L. Cousins High School band room was dedicated Thursday for a man who taught generations of high school and middle school musicians in the same building.

The band room in the R.L. Cousins complex near the dead end of Geiger Street between I-20 and the Oxford city limits was dedicated to the late T.K. Adams, who died Jan. 25.

Adams served as the band director at R.L. Cousins High School and, later, Cousins Middle School for 36 years and was elected Teacher of the Year on numerous occasions, according to information from the Newton County School System. 

His widow, Louise, on Thursday recalled the couple began working in 1959 at the combined R.L. Cousins elementary and high school — the public schools for Black Newton County residents before the school system was integrated in 1970. 

Adams taught the band in the high school cafeteria when they first began working at the school — before the band room was built, Mrs. Adams said.

She said the interior of the building appeared much larger than when it was filled with instruments and equipment in its heyday.

“To have this after 36 years, it’s very emotional,” she said after the ceremony. 

“But I’m happy,” she said. “He’s here watching over us, thinking about all the good times he had in here with these children.”

“He loved life. He loved people.”

Adams also founded the Newton County Community Band in 1993 before retiring from Cousins Middle School in 1995. 

He served as the community band’s director for regular Christmas and Fourth of July concerts in Covington for 21 years before a final July 4 concert on his birthday in 2014. 

The building Thursday was filled with displays featuring prominent Black Newton Countians, both past and present.

Newton Chamber of Commerce helped host a ribbon cutting for the center. Chamber President Debbie Harper told the crowd she played flute in the band at Cousins Middle School under Adams’ direction and recalled him being unhappy with some band members when they ate snacks while also trying to play instruments.

County Commissioner J.C. Henderson said long before any Black residents were in position to be elected to a government board in Newton County, T.K. and Louise Adams were working to make life better for the community.

Historical Committee president Terri James said she credited Henderson for initiating the organization’s use of the building.

She said she told Mrs. Adams in mid-January the building was ready and would be dedicated to her husband. However, Mr. Adams had recently entered the hospital at the time and never got to chance to see it dedicated to him, James said.