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The Honorable James Ford

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Information about The Honorable James Ford

Profile image of The Honorable James Ford

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Mayor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Lobster
Favorite Time of Year:
All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Jamaica
Favorite Quote:
Ford Has Better Ideas.

Birthplace

Born:
12/1/1925
Birth Location:
Leon County, Florida

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Mayor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Lobster
Favorite Time of Year:
All Seasons
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Jamaica
Favorite Quote:
Ford Has Better Ideas.

Birthplace

Born:
12/1/1925
Birth Location:
Leon County
See how The Honorable James Ford is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

James R. Ford, accomplished educator, politician, businessman, and community activist, was born on December 1, 1925 in Leon County, Florida. He attended Florida A&M University, where he earned his B.S. in 1950 and his M.Ed. in 1959.

Ford served in both the United States Navy and the United States Army. He worked for the Leon County Public School System from 1950-1987, as a teacher and its first black administrator, presiding over the first integrated school staff in Leon County.

In 1972, Ford became Tallahassee's first black mayor, the first black mayor of a state capitol city. He served subsequent terms as mayor in 1976 and 1982. In addition, he served fourteen consecutive years as a Tallahassee City Commissioner. In this office, he played a key role in establishing the Minority Business Department, the Frenchtown Area Development Authority and the Affirmative Action Office and worked to eliminate segregated practices in the city government and to secure employment for blacks.

Ford is also active in the business community. He built WAMN Radio Station, becoming Tallahassee's first black manager of a radio station. He owns and manages six businesses and acts as the President of CNJ Associates, Inc. He has served as the president of Sigma Phi Pi and Alpha Phi Alpha fraternities; the Tallahassee Urban League; the Tallahassee Chapter of 100 Black Men; and as Commander of the Tallahassee Sail and Power Squadron. He has sat on the boards of the Chamber of Commerce, the United Way, Meals on Wheels, the March of Dimes Big Bend Chapter, the American Red Cross's Tallahassee Chapter and the Florida League of Cities; he currently sits on the boards of the Tallahassee Memorial Regional Medical Center, the Lively Vocational School and Peoples 1st Community Bank. He and his wife Clinita have a son and two daughters.

Ford passed away on October 11, 2017 at age 91.

See how The Honorable James Ford is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Ford's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Ford lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Ford describes his family
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Ford describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Ford describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Ford describes his mother's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Ford talks about his childhood community
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Ford describes his father's personality
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Ford describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Ford describes his childhood responsibilities, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James Ford describes his childhood responsibilities, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James Ford talks about the land owners in Leon County, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Ford describes his experience at Macon Elementary School in Tallahassee, Florida, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Ford describes the community of Macon in Leon County, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Ford describes his experience at Macon Elementary School in Tallahassee, Florida, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Ford describes his childhood celebrations
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Ford talks about his church community
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Ford describes the major social events in his community
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Ford describes sights, sounds, and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Ford describes the first time he heard a radio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James Ford describes the impact that radio has had on his life
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - James Ford describes his experience attending Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Florida
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - James Ford describes his mentors at Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Florida, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 12 - James Ford describes his mentors at Lincoln High School in Tallahassee, Florida, pt. 2
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Ford describes his being hired at Sun Shipbuilding during World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Ford describes getting drafted by the United States Navy during World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Ford describes his experience as First Class Steward in the United States Navy during World War II
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Ford describes his experience as a First Lieutenant in the United States Army
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Ford talks about his vocational education at Florida A&M University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Ford describes how being in the United States Navy changed his social personality
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Ford describes his developing leadership skills in the United States Navy
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Ford describes his experience at Florida A&M University
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - James Ford talks about graduating from Florida A&M University in 1950
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - James Ford describes the beginning of his career as a teacher
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Ford describes hiring two white teachers at Concord School in Leon County, Florida
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Ford talks about his experience with integrating the schools as a teacher in Leon County, Florida, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Ford talks about his experience with integrating the schools as a teacher in Leon County, Florida, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Ford describes a racial conflict that occurred while he was assistant principal at Leon High School, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Ford describes a racial conflict that occurred while he was assistant principal at Leon High School, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Ford describes his decision to run for City Commissioner, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Ford describes his decision to run for City Commissioner, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James Ford describes his decision to run for City Commissioner pt. 3
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Ford talks about the support he received from his students during his first election
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Ford talks about his experience as City Commissioner for Tallahassee, Florida
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Ford describes being elected Mayor of Tallahassee, Florida in 1972
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Ford talks about a Klan march that occurred while he was Mayor of Tallahassee, Florida, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Ford talks about a Klan march that occurred while he was Mayor of Tallahassee, Florida, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Ford describes integrating the Christmas parties for the Tallahassee, Florida government
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Ford describes improving the City of Tallahassee's bon rating to Triple A
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James Ford talks about balancing his educational and mayoral duties
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James Ford describes the role of black educators in the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Ford describes the role of black elected officials in the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Ford describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Ford reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Ford talks about how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Ford narrates his photographs