"We all had a deep and abiding faith in God
and feared doing nothing
more than doing something."
Brief biography of James R. Mapp
James R. Mapp was born in 1927 in Mayfield, Georgia, 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. He graduated from Howard High School in the Class of 1947 as Class President and Valedictorian. He attended Tennessee A & I 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 eight children were born (Brenda, Deborah, Michaellee, Jon, Angela, Toney, Alicia and Ivy). Presently, he is married to Bettye Jean McCoy of Meridian, Mississippi. They reside in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Active in the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) since 1941, he 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 28 years. He also served as State President for two and one half years, and Chaired the Region for two years. He has committed his life to challenging racial segregation and inequality.
He has been active in civic affairs and politics for many years, and has received numerous awards. He 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, he was a subscribing Golden Heritage Member. He is an Honorary PTA Life Member and member of the AARP. He was also 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.
He 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 operated for many years. He 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 2015.
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. He 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. He established an umbrella Scouting Committee which was designed to coordinate all Boy and Girl Scouting for Orchard Knob Baptist Church. 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. He authorized a resolution presented to the US Congress by the National PTA relating to daylight savings time.