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James Cameron

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Information about James Cameron

Profile image of James Cameron

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Museum Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
The More You Learn, The More You Can Do.

Birthplace

Born:
2/23/1914
Birth Location:
LaCrosse, Wisconsin

Profession

Category:
CivicMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Civil Rights Activist
Museum Chief Executive

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Hawaii
Favorite Quote:
The More You Learn, The More You Can Do.

Birthplace

Born:
2/23/1914
Birth Location:
LaCrosse
See how James Cameron is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

James Cameron, founder of America’s Black Holocaust Museum, was born February 23, 1914, in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, to James Herbert Cameron and Vera Carter. When Cameron’s father left the family the family moved to Birmingham, Alabama, and later to Kokomo, Indiana. When his mother remarried, Cameron resettled in Marion, Indiana. Cameron attended DaPayne School through the 8th grade where he was given the name Apples because he carried apples in his pockets for lunch. On the night of August 7, 1930, Cameron’s friends Abe Smith, nineteen, and Tommy Shipp, eighteen, tried to hold up a white couple at the local Lovers’ Lane. The Grant County Sheriff arrested Cameron charging him and his friends with murder; the Ku Klux Klan stormed the jail and tried to lynch the trio. During the altercation, Cameron passed out; his two friends were lynched but Cameron’s life was spared.

Although Madame C.J. Walker sent him two NAACP lawyers from Indianapolis, Cameron was convicted in his 1931 trial as an accessory. Paroled in 1935, Cameron moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he worked for Stroh’s Brewing Company and attended Wayne State University. In Madison, Wisconsin, Cameron founded the local branch of the NAACP and founded two more chapters in Muncie and South Bend, Indiana.

In 1983, Cameron mortgaged his house in order to publish his memoir, A Time of Terror. In 1988, with the assistance of philanthropist Daniel Bader, Cameron founded America’s Black Holocaust Museum, a non-profit devoted to preserving the history of lynching in the United States and the struggle to eradicate it. Located in a twelve thousand square-foot gym purchased for one dollar from the City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the museum contains artifacts from slavery, stereotypes, lynching postcards, and photographs. America’s Black Holocaust Museum is visited annually by thousands of school children. Cameron appeared on ABC television’s Nightline, and scores of other television programs. In 1991, Cameron was officially pardoned by the State of Indiana.

Cameron passed away on June 11, 2006 at age 92.

See how James Cameron is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Cameron's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Cameron lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Cameron describes his mother's family's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Cameron talks about his family's move to Birmingham, Alabama and his father's profession
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Cameron describes his father and his parents' meeting
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Cameron recounts his parents' divorce
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Cameron remembers his mother being fired in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Cameron remembers his teenage years in Kokomo, Indiana
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Cameron describes his stepfather's shooting of policemen who abetted a lynching
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James Cameron recounts how he survived an attempted lynching
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James Cameron talks about leaving town after his attempted lynching
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James Cameron describes the racism he encountered while held in protective police custody
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - James Cameron describes being held at the Grant County Jail in Marion, Indiana before his attempted lynching
  • Tape: 1 Story: 14 - James Cameron describes how the white mob attempting to lynch him stormed Grant County Jail in Marion, Indiana
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Cameron describes how he was found and beaten by a lynch mob
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Cameron recounts the crime that led to his attempted lynching, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Cameron recounts the crime that led to his attempted lynching, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Cameron recalls being arrested, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Cameron recalls being arrested, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Cameron describes Abraham Smith and Thomas Shipp
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Cameron talks about his legal defense and police protection
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Cameron talks about his time in jail and Sheriff Bernard Bradley
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Cameron talks about his trial and conviction
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Cameron describes his prison sentence
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Cameron details his parole efforts
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Cameron remembers his arrival in Detroit, Michigan in 1935
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Cameron describes his time on parole in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Dr. James Cameron describes his jobs and Bethel A.M.E. Church in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Cameron remembers meeting and marrying his wife in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Cameron describes his education and career in Detroit, Michigan
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Cameron remembers seeing Joe Louis win the world heavyweight championship in 1937