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Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr.

Religious leader Reverend Dr. Jim Holley was born on December 5, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Effie Mae King Holley and Charles James Holley, Sr. Holley graduated with his B.S. degree in 1965 and his M.S. degree in international relations in 1968, both from Tennessee State University. He went on to receive his B.A. and M.Div. degrees in the Old Testament from Chicago Theological Seminary, and then his Ph.D. degree in higher education from Wayne State University in 1978. He later received his D.Min. degree in economic development from Drew University.

On June 9, 1972, Holley became pastor of Detroit, Michigan’s Little Rock Baptist Church. In addition to his role as pastor, he was named president and chief executive officer of Cognos Advertising Agency in 1988, and has served as dean of the Ashland Theological Seminary, police commissioner, president of the Council of Baptist Pastors, and president and chief executive officer of Country Preacher Foods, Inc., the largest minority food distributor in the world. He also went on to establish and chair the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1997.

As a community leader in Detroit, Holley has acquired the St. Regis Hotel, the Little Rock Pharmacy, the Family Life Center, the Little Rock Health Care Home, a local strip mall, and an education complex for high school dropouts. He is also the author of numerous spiritually-focused books, including the Handbook for Brotherhood Organizations (1990); Manual for Brotherhood Organizations (1990); The Mission, The Minister, The Ministry (1990); A Guide to Successful Preaching & Pastoring (1992); The Drama of Human Suffering (1992); The Buck Stops Here (1994); Jesus, This is Jimmy (1994); The Spirit Speaks: Daily Spiritual Motivation for Successful African Americans (1997); Creating a Can Do Attitude in a Can't Do Atmosphere (2000); and When the Vision is Larger Than the Budget (2006).

Holley has been rated by the Detroit Free Press as one of the top five ministers in Michigan, and was named Michiganian of the Year by the Detroit News in 1990. He has been recognized by Crain's Business Magazine as one of the foremost voices in Detroit, and was honored at the 2010 Trumpet Awards.

The Reverend Dr. Jim Holley was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on June 24, 2014.

Accession Number

A2014.227

Sex

Male

Interview Date

6/24/2014

Last Name

Holley

Maker Category
Middle Name

James

Occupation
Schools

Tennessee State University

Chicago Theological Seminary

Wayne State University

Drew University

First Name

Charles

Birth City, State, Country

Philadelphia

HM ID

HOL18

Favorite Season

Fall

State

Pennsylvania

Favorite Vacation Destination

Nassau, Bahamas

Favorite Quote

The Measure Of A Man Is How He Handles His Vicissitudes. (Paraph. fr MLK)

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Michigan

Birth Date

12/5/1943

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Detroit

Country

United States

Favorite Food

Chicken

Short Description

Religious leader Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. (1943 - ) has been the pastor of Detroit, Michigan’s Little Rock Baptist Church since 1972. He also founded the Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences and served as president and CEO of Cognos Advertising Agency, dean of the Ashland Theological Seminary, and president and CEO of Country Preacher Foods, Inc.

Employment

Cognos Advertising Agency

Country Preacher Foods, Inc.

Detroit Academy of Arts and Sciences

Detroit (Mich.). Police Dept.

Little Rock Baptist Church

Ashland Theological Seminary

Favorite Color

Black or Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr.

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his father's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his parents' relationship

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes being raised by his paternal grandmother

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. lists his brothers and sisters

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. considers which parents' disposition he takes after

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memories in West Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. talks about segregation and poverty in rural West Virginia

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. talks about racism in West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes race relations in his community in West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. talks about attending Laurel Creek Baptist Church in Wolfe, West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. remembers watching Oral Roberts' televangelist program, 'The Abundant Life'

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes sights, sounds and smells of his community in West Virginia

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his experience at Roseville Elementary School in West Virginia, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his experience at Roseville Elementary School in West Virginia, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his sixth grade experience at Paul Laurence Dunbar Elementary School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes moving to Mount Pleasant, Tennessee with his aunt and uncle

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes attending Mount Nebo Baptist Church in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his experience at Clarke High School in Mount Pleasant, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 11 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes how he got to Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 12 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes his experience as an undergraduate student at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee

Tape: 2 Story: 13 - Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. remembers participating in Nashville, Tennessee civil rights demonstrations

DASession

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DATape

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DAStory

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DATitle
Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. talks about segregation and poverty in rural West Virginia
Reverend Dr. Jim Holley, Jr. describes sights, sounds and smells of his community in West Virginia
Transcript
I've heard people describe growing up in West Virginia in a rural situation like yours and it always--they, they described a pretty tough--$$Right.$$--existence. I mean--(simultaneous)--$$Right.$$--I have friends that grew up in Glen Rogers, West Virginia--$$Yeah.$$--and another one in--I can't think of the other town, but--$$Yeah.$$--but they're, you know--$$Because it was very--again, segregation was, was not something that was on the, the, the radar screen for anybody. We--you had to do what you--because people did--they did what they wanted to do to you and it doesn't--and nobody really cared outside of the, of the, the community. And so as a child, you basically--you stayed in your area. It's interesting that when I was a child, I would always look to get to the black community, and now that I'm grown, I'm always lookin' to get to, to the other community now. It seems like you're--that your community, you know, is having trouble, so to speak. But, it was, it was very poor. The whole state was poor for the most part. And, and, when I went to school as a kid, I had to walk. There was no bus system, you know, so I would walk about pretty much I think it came out to about eleven miles going one way to Bramwell [West Virginia]] and another, another eleven miles coming back. So I would wash up at--in cold water 'cause there's no heat, and then you wash up and you basically go to school. And you have to go early because you gotta walk, and then you gotta walk back. And so it was, it was, it was difficult. But, again, in those days, it was the way of life and you get used to the way of life, and there's no exposure to make you feel like it was anything different.$$Okay.$Well, we always ask this question or you've, you've already explained some, some of it, but what were some of the sights and sounds and smells of growin' up?$$I'm not quite sure of how to answer that. I hear what--I know what you're sayin'. I'm not quite sure, again, like I said--$$Were there any particular smells, for instance, from a, from the mines or the--(simultaneous)--$$No, not really--(simultaneous)--$$--(unclear) activity?$$I, I, I think, you know, what the--I don't wanna be so philosophical with you, but I think the, the, the smell of poverty. I just--I hated it. I hated it. I hated it. Even though I didn't understand it, I still hate--I--not knowin' how you're gonna make it the next day and my grandmother [Marybelle Holley], and, and, and just knowin' how I can free her from all of this pressure that she was always under. But, I do understand what you're sayin'. Obviously, there's what we call a, a hog killing time where--in the whole area, everybody killed the hogs at the same time. And so the children did what they had to do and the grownups did what they had to do. And so that smell (laughter), you know, of all the--those hogs and stuff like the, you know, the straughter [ph.]--I'm sorry, you know, when you kill the hogs, hogs. So that's--that was a, was a interesting event (laughter) that took place where we all pitched in and obviously they would give, give us some, some, some sausage and things like that for, for helping. So that was always a interesting smell, if you don't mind. I, I would--the only thing, you know, I would, I would go nighttime because I wouldn't have any, any, any coal to--for the fuel, fuel for the fire and so I, I would hop freight trains and throw the, the, the coal off the freight trains and to go back the next day, next morning, and try to pick it up and bring it home because, again, we--many several of us had to do that because we were--didn't have the money, didn't have the money for fuel.$$I've--(simultaneous)--$$So--$$--heard that story before--$$Yeah.$$You know--$$Until the, until the state police used to protect the trains from going through the, through community now and then, so we had to be careful that we not gonna get killed by hoppin' the freight train and then bein' shot by the, the state trooper tryin' to get the coal off. It was, you know--but it's amazing what you would do even as a kid to survive.