Edit Current Bio
UCB is written collaboratively by you and our community of volunteers. Please edit and add contents by clicking on the add and edit links to the right of the content

James T. Hemphill, Sr.

He was born in Buffalo, NY. He later died on 5-12-2002.
  • Basic Info
  • Attachments
  • Relations
  • Organizations
  • Accomplishments
  • Schools
  • Employers
Rev. James T. Hemphill Sr. was a pastor, civil rights leader and city school teacher. He was a Buffalo native and attended Buffalo Public Schools. He attended Livingston College and Hood Theological Seminary both in Salisbury, North Carolina.

Rev. Hemphill retired in 1998 as pastor of Varick Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. Previously he served for many years as pastor of Walls Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, where he organized a recreation and athletic club that served up to 600 youngsters. Early in his ministry, he founded and served as pastor of Hemphill Interdenominational Church in Buffalo. He also served as a pastor of churches in North and South Carolina and Alabama.

Rev. Hemphill was also a special education teacher who worked in the Buffalo Public Schools for 32 years. Before joining the public school system, he taught special education at the Connors Children's Center in Buffalo. He also taught in schools in Montgomery, Alabama, at Lomax Hannon Junior college in Greenville, Alabama and at Erie Community College in Buffalo, New York. He pursued post-graduate studies at the University at Buffalo and Alabama State University.

A long-time civil rights leader, Rev. Hemphill was president of the NAACP Branch in Thomasville, South Carolina while serving as pastor of St. John African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church there and he led a fight to integrate public buildings in Thomasville. When he returned to Buffalo in 1958, he served as president of the Buffalo branch NAACP. He was also an organizer and past president of the Minority coalition, an organizer and board member of the Community Action Organization, a past resident of the Southern Christian Leadership conference and a board member of the Black Development Foundation and the Black Businessmen's Development Corporation. He also brought the Opportunity Development Corporation to the Buffalo Niagara region and became its first president.

He was a member of the Interdenominational Ministers Association, the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Sigma Rho Sigma honorary fraternity and the Prince Hall Free and Accepted Masons. He ventured into politics briefly in 1984 when he ran unsuccessfully for Common Council in the Masten District.

He was married to the former Drucilla Nixon. The couple had two daughters, Jacquelyn Peoples and Viola Anne as well as a son, James T. Jr.
Rev. Hemphill died on May 12, 2002. He is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, NY.