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David James

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Information about David James

Profile image of David James

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Military Officer
Lawyer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Light Blue
Favorite Food:
Tempura Fried Calamari
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Fon Du Lac, Wisconsin
Favorite Quote:
Don't look back. Someone might be gaining on you.

Birthplace

Born:
11/17/1923
Birth Location:
St. Louis, Missouri

Profession

Category:
MilitaryMakers
LawMakers
Occupation(s):
Military Officer
Lawyer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Light Blue
Favorite Food:
Tempura Fried Calamari
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Fon Du Lac, Wisconsin
Favorite Quote:
Don't look back. Someone might be gaining on you.

Birthplace

Born:
11/17/1923
Birth Location:
St. Louis
See how David James is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Army Air Corps officer and attorney Lt. David F. James was born on November 17, 1923 in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1941, after graduating from Lane Tech High School in Chicago, James attended Loyola University. During his freshman year in 1942, James entered the U.S. Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet Training Program in Tuskegee, Alabama. Upon arrival at Tuskegee Air Field, James was assigned to the 332nd Fighter Group where he trained to fly single seat fighter planes.

From 1944 to 1945, James flew combat missions with the 332nd Fighter Group over Germany as well as other countries in Eastern Europe during World War II. In 1946, James completed his tour of duty with the Army Air Force and re-enrolled at Loyola University. Later, in 1949, James graduated from Loyola University with his B.A. degree. James was hired by business machine manufacturer Burroughs Corporation in 1950 and became the company’s first African American salesman. In 1956, James found a job with the University of Chicago before he was appointed as a deputy director with the State of Illinois in 1961. While there, part of his responsibilities involved working on the “War on Poverty.” James then graduated from DePaul University College of Law with his J.D. degree in 1963. James was hired by the American Bar Association (ABA) in 1967 and became the first African American attorney to be hired by that organization. He worked at the ABA until 1984.

In 1967, James became the first African American homeowner in Winnetka, Illinois. Soon after moving to Winnetka, James became involved in groups that were forming on the North Shore to promote better race relations and open housing. In 1967, James and his wife, Mary, established Together We Influence Growth (TWIG) Day Camp that brings together children from South Side neighborhoods and children from the North Shore. In 1972, James helped found the North Shore Interfaith Housing Council (now the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs), which is organized to fight housing discrimination. In the late 1980s, James was appointed as an administrative law judge for the U.S. Department of Labor. In 1990, James went into private practice as an attorney and remained there until 2000. In 2009, James, along with more than one hundred other Tuskegee Airmen, attended the Inauguration Ceremony of President Barack Obama.

Army Air Corps Officer Lt. David F. James was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on August 21, 2013.

James passed away on July 23, 2016.

See how David James is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David James' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David James lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David James talks about his mother's education and career as a teacher in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David James talks about his mother's personality and his maternal grandfather's business in St. Louis
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David James talks about his maternal family's migration from New Orleans, Louisiana to St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David James talks about his mother's upbringing in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David James talks about his maternal grandmother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David James talks about his maternal grandparents marrying in St. Louis, and his grandmother's death
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David James discusses his maternal family's Creole heritage
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David James talks about his mother's personality and her sheltered upbringing
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David James talks about his father's personality and his goals and ambitions
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David James talks about his siblings' education and his own likeness to his parents
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David James talks about his father's Native American heritage
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David James describes his earliest childhood memories in St. Louis, Missouri
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David James talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David James talks about the high achievers in his neighborhood of West Woodlawn in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David James talks about the high achievers in his neighborhood of West Woodlawn in Chicago, Illinois, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - David James talks about the smells of growing up in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David James describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David James talks about his family's mealtimes together and attending Holy Cross Catholic Church in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David James describes his experience in elementary school, pt. 1
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David James describes his experience in elementary school, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David James describes his decision to attend Lane Technical College Prep High School in Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David James describes his experience in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David James describes his commute to high school and his extracurricular activities in school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - David James talks about his high school friend, Jim Onitas, and his decision to attend Loyola University
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David James talks about becoming interested in aviation while he was in high school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David James talks about the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, during World War II
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David James talks about African Americans training for and serving in World War II, in the aftermath of the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David James talks about being drafted into World War II
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David James talks about his trip from Chicago, Illinois to Tuskegee Airfield in Alabama, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - David James talks about his trip from Chicago, Illinois to Tuskegee Airfield in Alabama, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - David James describes his experience at basic training at Tuskegee Airfield in Alabama
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - David James talks about his pilot training with Alfred "Chief" Anderson
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - David James talks about Alfred "Chief" Anderson, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's visit to Tuskegee Airfield
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - David James talks about his first solo flight and reflects upon flight training school
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - David James talks about relying on instrumentation in flying planes
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - David James talks about Albert Stewart, the first African American admitted to the U.S. Navy's Officer Training Program
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - David James talks about race relations stationed at Tuskegee Airfield in Alabama
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - David James talks about becoming a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army and serving in Europe with the 15th Air Force
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - David James talks about the fighter planes he flew during his assignment in Europe with the 15th Air Force
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - David James talks about the engineering of the fighter planes flown during World War II
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - David James talks about the end of World War II in 1945, and the end of his tour in 1946
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - David James talks about returning to Loyola University, graduating in 1946, and the Great Migration during the 1940s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - David James talks about meeting his wife in 1946
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - David James talks about his wife and their involvement in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - David James talks about being hired as the first African American salesperson at Burroughs Corporation
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - David James talks about working at the University College at the University of Chicago
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - David James talks about his role as the Minority Representative of the State of Illinois
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - David James talks about the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King's visit to Chicago in 1964, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - David James talks about the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. Martin Luther King's visit to Chicago in 1964, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - David James talks about becoming the first African American attorney to work at the American Bar Association and to purchase a home in Winnetka, Illinois
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - David James talks about his decision to move to Winnetka, Illinois
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - David James talks about his children transitioning into their new schools in Winnetka, Illinois
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - David James talks about his and his wife's involvement in community activities in the North Shore area of Chicago, Illinois
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - David James talks about his service as an administrative law judge for the Department of Labor, and his private law practice
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - David James talks about attending President Obama's inauguration with the Tuskegee Airmen, the "Dodo Club" and his high school alumni meetings
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - David James talks about his children's education and their careers
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - David James talks about his grandchildren
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - David James reflects upon his legacy, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - David James reflects upon his legacy, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - David James talks about his high school history teacher, Dr. Walner
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - David James describes his photographs