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Tue, 05.28.1935

James Patterson Jr., Lawyer, and Minister born

James Patterson Jr.

*On this date in 1935 James Patterson, Jr. was born. He was a Black lawyer and minister.

James Oglethorpe “J. O.” Patterson, Jr. was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He was the son of J.O. Patterson, Sr. and Mrs. Deborah M. Patterson.  He was the grandson of the COGIC founder, Bishop Charles Harrison Mason. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration from Fisk University in 1958, his Jurist Doctor degree from DePaul University in 1963, and his Master of Religion degree from the Memphis Theological Seminary in 1985.

After practicing law for a few years, Patterson became active in politics, serving one term in the Tennessee House of Representatives, two terms in the State Senate, and five terms on the Memphis City Council.  In 1982, he served as interim Mayor of Memphis for 20 days, the first African American to serve in that capacity.

He also served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1972, 1976, and 1980. In 1985, Patterson was consecrated a Bishop of the Church of God and Christ. He also served as president of the J. O. Patterson Mortuary. James Patterson Jr. died on June 25, 2011.


Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History,
315 East Warren Avenue,
Detroit, MI 48201,
(313) 494-5800,

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