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James M. Harkless

Labor lawyer James M. Harkless was born on April 19, 1931 in Detroit, Michigan. He attended Harvard University, where he received his A.B. degree in history in 1952. While there, he was the first African American to be elected president of the Harvard Glee Club. Harkless went on to attend Harvard Law School and earned his J.D. degree in 1955.

Upon graduation, Harkless clerked for a justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court and was appointed chief clerk in 1956. From 1957 to 1960, he worked as an associate in a Boston area law firm, where he represented unions in labor relations. In 1961, Harkless served as general counsel for a sub-committee of the U.S. House Education and Labor Committee. Then, from 1962 to 1964, he became the first African American appellate court attorney in the Office of the National Labor Relations Board General Counsel. Harkless went on to work as confidential assistant to the Commissioner of Customs, as executive secretary of the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, and as senior associate and vice president of a Washington, D.C. consulting firm. In 1970, Harkless was hired as an arbitrator and associate umpire for Bethlehem Steel Company and United Steelworkers of America. He then received arbitration cases through the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, the American Arbitration Association, and the National Mediation Board, as well as selections as permanent arbitrator for private companies, federal agencies, and their unions. Harkless has issued more than 3,000 decisions covering most labor-management issues.

Harkless has served in many other organizations, often as a board member. In 1972, the United States President appointed Harkless to serve on the Special Railroad Emergency Boards. He then worked as part-time chairman of the Washington, D.C. Board of Labor Relations from 1974 until 1978. Harkless also served as a member of the Prince George's County, Maryland Public Employee Relations Board from 1975 to 1978 and as a member of the Employee Relations Council of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority from 1993 to 1995. From 1985 to 2006, he was chairman of the IUE-GM (Delphi) Legal Services Plan. Harkless was appointed a member of the Foreign Service Grievance Board in 1990, served as a consultant on arbitration to a South African government commission in 1998, and was elected the first African American President of the National Academy of Arbitrators in 1998. In 2005, the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers made him an honorary fellow.

Harkless lives in Washington, D.C.

James M. Harkless was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on January 29, 2014 and January 30, 2017.

Accession Number

A2014.007

Sex

Male

Interview Date

1/29/2014 |and| 3/17/2014 |and| 01/30/2017

Last Name

Harkless

Maker Category
Marital Status

Divorced

Middle Name

McConnell

Occupation
Schools

Alger Elementary School

Harry B. Hutchins Intermediate School

Northern High School

Harvard University

Harvard Law School

First Name

James

Birth City, State, Country

Detroit

HM ID

HAR45

Favorite Season

Spring

State

Michigan

Favorite Vacation Destination

Capalua, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

Just do it.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

4/19/1931

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

All Foods

Short Description

Labor lawyer James M. Harkless (1931 - ) has been a labor lawyer and arbitrator for over fifty years. He was the first African American President of the National Academy of Arbitrators.

Employment

Delete

Bethlehem Steel & United Steel Workers

Leo Kramer, Inc.

Office of Economic Opportunity

Favorite Color

Red

Eddie Jenkins, Jr.

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.

Accession Number

A2007.068

Sex

Male

Interview Date

2/14/2007 |and| 9/11/2007

Last Name

Jenkins

Maker Category
Organizations
Schools

St Francis Preparatory School

College of the Holy Cross

Suffolk University Law School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Eddie

Birth City, State, Country

Jacksonville

HM ID

JEN07

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Florida

Favorite Vacation Destination

Dominican Republic

Favorite Quote

God Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Massachusetts

Birth Date

8/31/1950

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Boston

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Peanut Butter (Extra Chunky)

Short Description

Labor lawyer and football player Eddie Jenkins, Jr. (1950 - ) an attorney and former NFL wide receiver for the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins World Championship Team; he also served as chairman of the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission.

Favorite Color

Brown

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Eddie Jenkins, Jr.'s interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about his maternal family history, pt.1

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about his maternal family history, pt.2

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. describes his father's memories of Hank Aaron in the Negro League

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. recalls his family's move from Jacksonville Florida to Flushing, New York

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. describes his mother's upbringing and race relations in Jacksonville, Florida

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about his father's reputation as a baseball coach

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about his paternal family history

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about the impact of Zora Neal Hurston's literary legacy

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about Florida history

Tape: 1 Story: 12 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. describes his father, Eddie Jenkins, Sr.

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. describes his childhood neighborhood, "da Ville," in Flushing, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about academic placement during his grade school years

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about his Jewish classmates in Flushing, New York during his grade school years

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memories

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. recalls neighborhood sports as a youth

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. recalls his recruitment to St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows, New York

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about Coach Vincent O'Connor and the football team at St. Francis Preparatory School

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about playing basketball at St. Francis Preparatory School

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. describes his long commute to St. Francis Preparatory Academy as a high school student and learning Latin

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about his experience with Outward Bound in Hurricane Island, Maine

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. recalls spending three days alone on an island

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. continues to describe his experience in the Outward Bound program on Hurricane Island in Maine

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. describes his decision to attend College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about sports history at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. recalls his football career at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about a campus walkout staged by black students at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. recalls debates between Clarence Thomas and HistoryMaker Theodore Wells in the Black Student Union at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about the black community's disappointment with Clarence Thomas, pt.1

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about the black community's disappointment with Clarence Thomas, pt.2

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about neighbors from his childhood, Billie Holiday and Assata Shakur, formerly JoAnne Chesimard

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. recalls being drafted by the Miami Dolphins

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. recalls wearing African regalia to his graduation ceremony

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. describes impressing Coach Don Shula and making the Miami Dolphins team

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. describes his experience on the 1972 Miami Dolphins during their historic undefeated season

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. contrasts playing football at the collegiate and professional levels

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. recalls the early days of weight training in the NFL

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about outstanding teammates on the Miami Dolphins including Mercury Morris, Paul Warfield, and Marlin Briscoe

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about Marlin Briscoe's career trajectory

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about Coach Don Shula and Miami Dolphins athletes including Paul Warfield, Bob Griese, and Larry Little

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about Miami Dolphins player turned jailhouse lawyer, Mercury Morris, pt.1

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about Miami Dolphins player turned jailhouse lawyer, Mercury Morris, pt.2

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. recalls being cut from the New York Giants

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. describes his experience with the Buffalo Bills

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about the end of his NFL career and the start of law school

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. describes fulfilling his dream of becoming a lawyer at Suffolk University Law School in Boston, Massachusetts

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about David Pasula v. Consolidation Coal Company

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. remembers inspiring words from Johnnie Cochran

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about prosecuting a rape case on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, pt.1

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about prosecuting a rape case on the campus of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, pt.2

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about how the Charles Stuart case led him to run for Suffolk County District Attorney against Newman Flanagan

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about Ralph Martin, who was appointed Suffolk County District Attorney

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. describes his volunteer work

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. describes his role as chairman of the Massachusetts Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission

Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. describes his admiration of HistoryMaker and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick

Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about how he became chairman of Urban Edge, a non-profit housing corporation

Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about predatory lending in the Boston area

Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about the Urban Edge's housing development at Jackson Square

Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about his television show "The Public Advocate" and his radio program "Basic Training"

Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about the guests and content featured on his radio show, "Basic Training"

Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about Michael Vick and the need for athletes to invest their money wisely

Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about dog fighting

Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about the Businessweek article featuring his mentor from College of the Holy Cross, Father Brooks

Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about the legacy of Father John Brooks of College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts

Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about his plans for the future

Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about how Christianity shapes his world view

Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. considers what he would do differently

Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about his family

Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. talks about writing a book and the advice of Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Edward P. Jones

Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. describes how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Eddie Jenkins, Jr. narrates his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

4$6

DAStory

4$2

DATitle
Eddie Jenkins, Jr. recalls being drafted by the Miami Dolphins
Eddie Jenkins, Jr. remembers inspiring words from Johnnie Cochran
Transcript
Now, well let's talk about--now, how, when did the [Miami] Dolphins--when did the NFL start really? When, when were you aware that they were scouting--$$When they called me one day and said, hey, look, we'd like to come up and time you in the forty [40-yard dash]. And I remember I said, okay, fine, I'll go run the forty. And the guy standing with a stop watch like this, right. Here's the stop watch, and then he just turned around, and hid it on the other side (laughter), when he realized--I can't run straight, you know. But I still ran about a 5, a 4.05 forty. I mean, I was pretty fast for a big guy. I'm 6'2.5", you know, 212, 215 pounds. So, I--they looked at my size and my speed, and they said, wow, you know. He, he doesn't have much experience 'cause, you know, basically, playing in [College of the] Holy Cross [Worcester, Massachusetts] and the league I played in, and I haven't played that much. And we never won more than five games in four years (laughter), three years (laughter) so, you know, what could I contribute? But the Dolphins drafted me, thank God. One of my teammates had been drafted the day before. And everybody still walking around, saying, hey, when is your turn, Eddie? And, like, hey, man, I don't know, man, c'mon, you know. I, I don't know if I--I'm going to law school, you know, I'm just defeated, you know. And I remember, I get a call and, and you know, when you're in a, on a (unclear) with all men, and all brothers, and the jokes kinda get to be (laughter), you know, if you, you had, if you had thin skin, you couldn't make it. And so, I get this call--hey, Eddie, Eddie, Don Shula's on the phone, man (unclear). And I, so I go down there, man. I say, yeah, yeah. I said, now, look, MF, where do you go (laughter)? And he said, excuse me, this is Don Shula. I said, oh, Coach Shula, I said, oh, man. He said, he said, we just drafted you, you know, in the so and so round. I say, oh, yeah. He says, are you ready to come down? I say, yeah, I'm ready to come, Coach Shula. A couple of days, I got on that phone and I said, I'm going to kill you guys. They say, we told you he was on the phone (laughter), you know.$I still went to Appalachia, and I still tried cases, but see, that wasn't a good case. You have to make it what it is. In fact, when we had breakfast one time with Johnnie Cochran--we had some business with Johnnie, Johnnie came to Harvard [University, Cambridge, Massachusetts]. I was president of the Mass. Black Lawyers [Massachusetts Black Lawyers Association]. And Johnnie said something very, very important. He says, you know, a lot of people look at me and they say, look at Johnnie Cochran. He's one of the best black lawyers, or one of the best lawyers in America. Isn't, isn't that great that he has, has this, this, this great case that he won? He says, he says, let me tell you about this. He says, what most of you don't know is that I was a former prosecutor, and now a public defendant, and that, you know, I've had some losses, too. But the most important thing that you have to know is that I had an opportunity, and I took advantage of that opportunity, and so will you. And it's that opportunity, it's having that particular seed of discontent, or seed of a disadvantage that when you, in fact, overcome that, it makes you greater. It makes you stronger, and that's what I did. And, and it was very remarkable that he was--it's very humbly stated, 'cause we all, in our lives, have at some point an opportunity. Most times, we don't recognize it, but I, I just thought that, that was very great. I mean, at that time, I, I didn't think the Pasula case [David Pasula v. Consolidation Coal Company] was that big. Apparently, they didn't either. That's why they gave--why would they give it to me--not having ever tried a case in my life, give it to me? Did they think it was a loser? But they didn't think much of it at all, but we made it big. You make it big, you know so--$$So, what year was that case adjudicated?$$It was in probably 1979.$$Okay.$$Yeah, 'cause I only worked there [U.S. Department of Labor] two years.