Biography

James R. Mapp

picture of James R. Mapp

James R. Mapp was born in 1927 in Mayfield, GA as the oldest of two children of the late James Albert Mapp and the late Mattie L. Hargrove Mapp Davis.  He moved to Chattanooga at the age of 10 in 1937 and attended public schools, graduating from Howard High School in the Class of 1947 as Class President and Valedictorian.  He attended Tennessee A & I State College [now Tennessee State University (TSU)] in Nashville, with a major in Business Administration, and was elected Vice President of the freshman class.

He was married to the late Viola Martin Mapp of Greenville, Kentucky for 46 years, to which union there are eight children.  Presently, he is married to Bettye Jean McCoy of Meridian, Mississippi.  Mr. Mapp has been a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1942.  He has committed his life to challenging racial segregation and inequality.

Mr. Mapp served as President of the Coordinated Youth Councils of Chattanooga from 1945–1947.  He was Branch Secretary from 1953 until 1959 when he was elected to serve as Branch President, serving this office a total of 26 years.  He also served as State President for two and one half years, and Chaired the Region for two years.  He has been active in civic affairs and politics for many years, and has received numerous awards.  Mr. Mapp served on the first Mayor’s Bi-racial Committee, 1960-65, and the Tennessee Court Modernization Committee, 1976-78.  He was a founding member of the Tennessee Voters Council and the Unity Group.  He ran in elections for several County posts, which included County Council, County Registrar, Trustee and County Commissioner.

As a fully paid Life Member of the NAACP, Mr. Mapp is a subscribing Golden Heritage Member.  He is an Honorary PTA Life Member and member of AARP.  He is a member of the 33rd Degree Masons affiliated with the United Ancient Free and Accepted Scottish Rite Masons of North America, Historical Grand Lodge of Tennessee, Hezekiah Lodge #23, and Alleppo Temple of Shriners.

Mr. Mapp served 16 years as an Agent and Assistant Manager with North Carolina Mutual Life Insurance Company, and one year as Manager for the Union Protective Life Insurance Company.  He opened the James R. Mapp General Insurance Agency in 1964, which continued until recently.  Mr. Mapp served four years as a Housing Planner where he was instrumental in getting an Open Housing Ordinance passed by the City of Chattanooga.  In 1990, he opened Mapp and Associates Realty, which continued until recently.

Orchard Knob Missionary Baptist Church has been his church of membership since 1940, having served as Usher, Member and President of the Sanctuary Choir, Superintendent of the Sunday School, Director of the Baptist Training Union and Teacher.  He still serves as a Trustee and was Chairman during the construction of the present church structure.  Mr. Mapp is presently a member of the Housing Development Board at the Church.

He became active in the Boy Scouts in 1942 and was active for more than 50 years, rising to the rank of Eagle Scout.  He served as Cub Master, Scout Master, and was on the Board of the Dynamo Division.  Mr. Mapp established an umbrella Scouting Committee which was designed to coordinate all Boy and Girl Scouting for Orchard Knob Baptist Church.

His service to the PTA (Parent Teachers Association) spanned 35 years, starting in 1954.  He served in many PTA positions including Unit President and Council Member.  Mr. Mapp authorized a resolution presented to the Congress by the National PTA relating to daylight savings time.

As a writer, he is in the process of finishing his memoirs.  The book, presently titled Chance or Circumstance is an autobiographical and historical account of his life, with emphasis on his work in civil rights.  It is scheduled for completion in 2015.

Copyright © 2013–2017 by Obiora Embry.

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