James Mapp, civil rights leader and businessman, dies at 87

James Mapp
James Mapp

Long-time NAACP leader, businessman and civic leader James Rogers Mapp died Friday at age 87.

He was best known for his leadership with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) where he continuously served since the 1940's, as a youth leader, board member, Chattanooga chapter president for three decades, state president and other elected positions.

photo James Mapp

Mapp is recognized across the state for leading a 26-year lawsuit that eventually led to desegregation of Chattanooga schools. He also was a plantiff-intervenor in the lawsuit that led to the merger of the University of Tennessee-Nashville and Tennessee State University.

His house was bombed in 1971 as a result of his stance for equality and civil rights.

The former Tennessee Client Services Center Building, located at 311 E. Martin Luther King Blvd., was named the James R. Mapp state office building in his honor in March 2010. The state voted in August 2013 to close the building.

He was also widely known as a businessman with North Carolina Mutual Insurance Co. before launching his own insurance and real estate companies in the 1960s. He retired his license as a real estate broker in 2012.

The Tennessee Black Caucus of the General Assembly has recognized Mapp on numerous occasions and gave him the Avon Williams Living Legend Award.

He was a member of Orchard Knob Baptist Church, where he has served as an usher and president of the Sanctuary Choir for more than 50 years.

Visitation and funeral services will take place from Friday through Sunday.

See Sunday's Times Free Press for the complete story.

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