Professional athlete and attorney Eddie Joseph Jenkins, Jr. was born on August 31, 1950, in Jacksonville, Florida. Jenkins’s parents, Essie Rae Jenkins and Eddie Jenkins, Sr., moved the family to “da Ville” in Flushing, New York in 1955. Jenkins attended Public School #154 and was mentored by Coach Vince O’Connor at St. Francis Preparatory School, where he excelled in sports and participated in Outward Bound on Hurricane Island in Maine. Graduating in 1968, Jenkins enrolled at College of the Holy Cross where his classmates included future attorney Ted Wells, author Ed Jones, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Graduating with his B.A. degree in 1972, Jenkins was drafted by the National Football League; there, Jenkins became part of the 1972 World Champion Miami Dolphins, the only team in NFL history to go undefeated. Winning the 1973 Super Bowl, Jenkins’s teammates included football legends, Paul Warfield, Larry Little, Marlon Briscoe, and Mercury Morris. Jenkins also played with the New York Giants, the Buffalo Bills, the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers.
Jenkins entered Suffolk University Law School in 1975 and earned his J.D. degree in 1978, after which he went to work for the United States Labor Department where he was instrumental in the landmark labor decision David Pasula v. Consolidation Coal Company in 1980. In 1986, Jenkins established the law offices of Eddie Jenkins and Associates and began teaching as an adjunct professor of law at Suffolk University Law School. The murder of Charles Stuart’s wife caused Jenkins to run against Newman Flanagan for District Attorney of Suffolk County in 1990; he won 38 percent of the vote against the incumbent. In 1993, Jenkins ran for an at-large seat on the Boston City Council and finished fifth; he also co-founded 1000 Black Men with Northeastern University’s Joseph Warren. In 1993, Jenkins unsuccessfully ran for Boston City Council. In 2002, Jenkins ran again for District Attorney of Suffolk County.
In 2003, Jenkins was appointed chairman of the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC) by commonwealth of Massachusetts Treasurer Timothy Cahill. As chairman of ABCC, Jenkins was charged with the enforcement, oversight and regulation of over 22,000 liquor licenses. Jenkins’s community involvement included the Dorchester YMCA, the Multicultural Aids Coalition (MAC), the Vivienne S. Thomson Disability Center, and New Covenant Christian Church Sunday School. Jenkins’s son, Julian Jenkins, was drafted as a defensive end by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2006.