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James M. Douglas

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Information about James M. Douglas

Profile image of James M. Douglas

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Law Professor
University President

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Favorite Quote:
Sometimes You Have To Do What You Don’t Wanna Do In Order To Be Able To Do What You Wanna Do.

Birthplace

Born:
2/11/1944
Birth Location:
Onalaska, Texas

Profession

Category:
LawMakers
EducationMakers
Occupation(s):
Law Professor
University President

Favorites

Favorite Color:
None
Favorite Food:
None
Favorite Time of Year:
Summer
Favorite Vacation Spot:
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Favorite Quote:
Sometimes You Have To Do What You Don’t Wanna Do In Order To Be Able To Do What You Wanna Do.

Birthplace

Born:
2/11/1944
Birth Location:
Onalaska
See how James M. Douglas is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Law professor and university president James Matthew Douglas was born on February 11, 1944 in Onalaska, Texas to Desso and Mary Douglas. He graduated from Texas Southern University in 1966 with his B.A. degree in mathematics. In 1970, Douglas received his J.D. degree from Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School Of Law, where he graduated first in his class. He went on to receive his J.S.M. degree in computer law from Stanford University in 1971.

From 1966 to 1971, Douglas worked as a computer analyst for Singer Simulation Company, a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contractor in Houston, Texas. In 1971, he was hired as an assistant professor of law at Texas Southern University. Douglas then worked as an assistant professor at Cleveland State University School of Law from 1972 to 1975; associate professor of law and associate dean at Syracuse University College of Law from 1975 to 1980; and professor of law at Northeastern University School of Law from 1980 to 1981. Then, in 1981, Douglas returned to Texas Southern University, where he was hired as dean and professor of law at the university’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law. He served as interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs in 1995, and, later that year, was named president of Texas Southern University. After his presidency ended in 1999, Douglas was named a distinguished professor of law at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law. He also served as Florida A & M University’s interim dean from 2005 to 2007, and was made executive vice president of Texas Southern University in 2008.

Douglas has served on the board of directors of the Hiscock Legal Society, Gulf Coast Legal Foundation and the Law School Admission Council. He was also a member of the Minority Affairs Committee of the Law School Admission Council, served as the American Bar Association’s chairman of education for the Committee of Science and Technology Section, and was a member of The Texas Lawyer Editorial Board. He has also authored several articles that have appeared in scholarly journals.

Douglas lives in Houston, Texas and is married to Tanya Smith Douglas. He has three children: DeLicia, James and Erika.

James Douglas was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 4, 2014.

See how James M. Douglas is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James M. Douglas' interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas explains the spelling of his mother's last name
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about his maternal family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas talks about an uncle fleeing Texas for Seattle, Washington
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas describes the Juneteenth celebrations in Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about his mother's education in Onalaska, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about his father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas describes how his maternal family's land was seized under eminent domain
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - James M. Douglas talks about his father's education
  • Tape: 1 Story: 11 - James M. Douglas talks about his parents' meeting and their migration to Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 1 Story: 12 - James M. Douglas describes his parents' personalities and considers which parent he takes after
  • Tape: 1 Story: 13 - James M. Douglas lists his siblings and describes his father's perspective on education
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas lists his siblings, where they went to school, and their professions, pt. 1
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas lists his siblings, where they went to school, and their professions, pt. 2
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about living in the predominantly white area of Kashmere Gardens in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas explains his decision to attend an HBCU
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about his fifth grade teacher, Ms. Sledge, at Atherton Elementary School in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas describes his experience at E.O. Smith Junior High School in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas talks about his academic interests in elementary school
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - James M. Douglas talks about Kashmere Gardens Junior/Senior High School in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 2 Story: 11 - James M. Douglas describes growing up in the Baptist church
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas describes the two jobs he had growing up
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about his refusal to sit in a segregated waiting room at the doctor's office
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas remembers sitting in the front of a segregated bus
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas describes race relations in Houston, Texas during the 1950s and 1960s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas describes his childhood career aspirations
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas describes the type of student he was in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas describes his high school extracurricular activities
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about the growing national interest in science during the presidential administrations of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas talks about attending an enrichment program for elementary school students at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - James M. Douglas talks about organizing a strike in high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 11 - James M. Douglas talks about being forbidden from walking across the stage at his high school commencement
  • Tape: 3 Story: 12 - James M. Douglas talks about the honors he earned in high school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about Dr. Llaryon Clarkson at Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about the movement to integrate schools in Houston, Texas following the leadership of HistoryMaker Reverend Bill Lawson
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas talks about being an outspoken campus leader, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about being an outspoken campus leader, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas talks about being an outspoken campus leader, pt. 3
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about changing his major from political science to math
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas describes his lack of anxiety about the possibility of being expelled for his activism
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about Dr. Samuel M. Nabrit, president of Texas Southern University from 1955 through 1966
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas mentions HistoryMakers Bill Lawson and Pluria Marshall, Sr.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 10 - James M. Douglas talks about dropping out of law school, being hired at IBM, and taking a job at the Singer Company
  • Tape: 4 Story: 11 - James M. Douglas talks about working with computer programming languages
  • Tape: 4 Story: 12 - James M. Douglas talks about working at the Singer Company while completing law school
  • Tape: 4 Story: 13 - James M. Douglas talks about being active in the employee organization at the Singer Company
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about his favorite professor at Texas Southern University Law School, Eugene Harrington
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about completing research in computer law at Stanford University and teaching law
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas talks about being asked to teach at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about being asked to teach at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas explains why he left Texas Southern University Law School for Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about the first computerized legal research systems
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about working at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law in Cleveland, Ohio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas describes earning the respect of Dean Craig W. Christensen at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas explains how he became associate professor and associate dean at Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - James M. Douglas explains how he connected with the dean of the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about his relationship with former president of Texas Southern University, Dr. Granville M. Sawyer, Sr.
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about establishing a training program at the Singer Company
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas talks about his reputation at the Singer Company
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks briefly about his father's work ethic relative to his own
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas talks about working on software systems for flight simulation
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about the significance in giving back to African American communities
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about his Master of the Science of Law (J.S.M.) degree from Stanford University in Palo Alto, California
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas describes his conflict with the dean of Stanford Law School over the policies for admitting minority students, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas describes his conflict with the dean of Stanford Law School over the policies for admitting minority students, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - James M. Douglas talks about being investigated by the Ronald Reagan gubernatorial administration for his student work with legal services
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas explains why the dean at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law asked him to move into academic administration
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas remembers working with a difficult colleague at the Singer Company, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas remembers working with a difficult colleague at the Singer Company, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about working in administration and simultaneously teaching
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas talks about deciding to join Syracuse University College of Law in Syracuse, New York
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about faculty and student response to his appointment as associate dean at the Syracuse University School of Law
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas describes his effort to improve the Syracuse University School of Law and student opposition to his tenure appointment
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about negotiating with the Syracuse University administration over control of the law school library
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas talks about joining the Northeastern University School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about recruiting African American students to attend law school
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about technology developments in the legal sector
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas talks about the Watergate Hearings in 1973, speaking with John Dean, and describes how Watergate impacted law schools
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas remembers President Jimmy Carter
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas talks about historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) that have been approved by the American Bar Association
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about how the law school admissions formula disadvantaged students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs)
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about a study completed by the American Bar Association on minority student success in law school
  • Tape: 8 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about Northeastern University School of Law's experiential legal education program
  • Tape: 8 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas describes being offered deanship at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas describes being offered deanship at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas describes the environment at the Northeastern University School of Law relative to other law schools
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas shares his legal education philosophy, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas shares his legal education philosophy, pt. 2
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas describes why he enjoyed law school
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about issues within Northeastern University Law School's cooperative program
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about being considered for deanship at Northeastern University School of Law
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas describes knowing beforehand that he would be hired as dean at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University
  • Tape: 9 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas describes the problems he encountered as dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about returning to Texas Southern University in 1981 as dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about the history of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas describes his goals as dean for the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about a dispute over the representation of Mexican American students on the academic standing and admissions committee
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas describes increasing revenue at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas describes trying to get his improvement plans approved by the faculty at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas describes trying to get his improvement plans approved by the faculty at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas describes dealing with difficult faculty members as dean of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas critiques the faculty at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law under his deanship
  • Tape: 11 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas describes the culture of the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University prior to his arrival as dean
  • Tape: 11 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas recalls a conversation with a student about intelligence and work ethic
  • Tape: 11 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas describes observing classes at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law as dean, pt. 1
  • Tape: 11 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas describes observing classes at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law as dean, pt. 2
  • Tape: 11 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about gaining the support of the Texas Southern University Board of Regents chairman
  • Tape: 11 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about students struggling to pass the bar exam due to poor study habits
  • Tape: 11 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about the level of rigorous study that law school requires
  • Tape: 11 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas talks about the significance of reading comprehension and analytical skills
  • Tape: 11 Story: 10 - James M. Douglas talks about his effort to increase the number of required classes at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University
  • Tape: 12 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about the governor of Texas, Mark White, publically showing his support, and president Dr. Leonard H.O. Spearman
  • Tape: 12 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about his relationship with Dr. Leonard H.O. Spearman
  • Tape: 12 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas describes drafting a report on university budget cuts
  • Tape: 12 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about Texas Southern University President Dr. Robert J. Terry's absence from the Select Committee on Higher Education
  • Tape: 12 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas talks about gathering support and representation for Texas Southern University before the Select Committee of Higher Education
  • Tape: 12 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about the proposal that Texas Southern University merge with the campus of University of Houston-Downtown
  • Tape: 12 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about the merger between Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee at Nashville
  • Tape: 12 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas describes the conflict he had with Dr. William H. Harris
  • Tape: 13 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about his disagreement with Dr. William H. Harris, over the allocation of funds to the Thurgood Marshall School of Law
  • Tape: 13 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas remembers his first two encounters with Texas Southern University president, Dr. Joann Horton
  • Tape: 13 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas describes the first big problem he handled as interim provost at Texas Southern University
  • Tape: 13 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about becoming interim president of Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas in 1995
  • Tape: 13 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas explains why he wanted to be president of Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 13 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about being appointed president of Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas
  • Tape: 13 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about discrimination lawsuits filed by white professors against Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, pt.1
  • Tape: 13 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about discrimination lawsuits filed by white professors against Texas Southern University in Houston, Texas, pt.2
  • Tape: 14 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about a study by the Law School Admissions Council on the performance of African Americans and Mexican Americans on the bar exam
  • Tape: 14 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about possible reasons African American students do not do well on the bar exam
  • Tape: 14 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas talks about the loss of a lawsuit against Texas Southern University
  • Tape: 14 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about the resolution of a separate lawsuit against Texas Southern University
  • Tape: 14 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas talks about the U.S. Department of Education putting Texas Southern University on a reimbursement financing plan
  • Tape: 14 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about successfully keeping Texas Southern University out of debt, pt. 1
  • Tape: 14 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about successfully keeping Texas Southern University out of debt, pt. 2
  • Tape: 14 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about Texas institutions of higher education
  • Tape: 14 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas talks about experiencing difficulty achieving the mission for the Thurgood Marshall School of Law
  • Tape: 14 Story: 10 - James M. Douglas refutes claims that the State of Texas ever had to bail out Texas Southern University
  • Tape: 15 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas remembers a conversation with Texas Lieutenant Governor Bob Bullock
  • Tape: 15 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about his conflict with HistoryMaker Alphonso P. Jackson
  • Tape: 15 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas talks about being fired as president of Texas Southern University
  • Tape: 15 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about Willard L. Jackson
  • Tape: 15 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas talks about Priscilla Slade
  • Tape: 15 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about negotiating his transition from president of Texas Southern University to teaching in the Thurgood Marshall School of Law
  • Tape: 15 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about cases historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) have brought against states for underfunding HBCUs
  • Tape: 15 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas talks about being asked to work at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU) in Tallahassee, Florida
  • Tape: 15 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas talks about faculty salaries at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law
  • Tape: 16 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas talks about the salaries at historically black colleges and universities
  • Tape: 16 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas talks about his relationship with Dr. John M. Rudley, who invited him to be executive vice president of Texas Southern University
  • Tape: 16 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas talks about being appointed vice president for governmental affairs and community relations at Texas Southern University
  • Tape: 16 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas describes the history of Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University College of Law and the Florida State University College of Law
  • Tape: 16 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas describes what inspired him to establish an African American art museum on Texas Southern University's campus
  • Tape: 16 Story: 6 - James M. Douglas talks about muralist Dr. John T. Biggers and the University Museum at Texas Southern University
  • Tape: 16 Story: 7 - James M. Douglas talks about his involvement in 100 Black Men, the NAACP, and the Boy Scouts
  • Tape: 16 Story: 8 - James M. Douglas recalls a conversation he had with a student about maintaining pro-black ideology in white environments
  • Tape: 16 Story: 9 - James M. Douglas talks about the Black Law Students Association [BLSA] at the Thurgood Marshall School of Law
  • Tape: 17 Story: 1 - James M. Douglas considers what he might have done differently
  • Tape: 17 Story: 2 - James M. Douglas reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 17 Story: 3 - James M. Douglas describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 17 Story: 4 - James M. Douglas talks about his family, marriages and children
  • Tape: 17 Story: 5 - James M. Douglas describes how he would like to be remembered