Arthur H. James was a former Philadelphia assistant district attorney.
James died Sunday, March 31, 2013. He was 66.
He was born July 13, 1946 in Philadelphia to the late Ella James Martin and Agashion James.
“Beaver,” as he was known by his grade school and later, college friends, graduated with honors from West Philadelphia High School in 1964. He went on to attend Lincoln University, where he received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics.
As an undergraduate at Lincoln University, James served as polemarch of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Epsilon Chapter.
He met and married Constance Faith Moore in 1968.
He headed many social movements including civil rights demonstrations. He traveled to the Mississippi Delta top aid those beleaguered by racism and poverty.
In 1975, James graduated from Temple University School of Law, where he served in leadership roles for the Black Law Students Association.
He worked as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia in the early 80s. He subsequently entered into private practice as a counselor-at-law.
He was the lead defense counselor in several high profile cases that made the evening news. One of his favorite comments was: “Some lawyers may know more case law. But once they put 12 in the box, I know people.”
He joined forces with three other successful and young Black lawyers to create the law firm Gaskins, Irwin, James and Philips. He later began to broaden his scope of legal discipline and took on medical malpractice and personal injury cases as well. James would often work on various cases for neighborhood friends pro bono.
Later in life, James became a stronger advocate in the nonprofit arena focused on aiding organizations whose aim was to improve the economic and social status of the underprivileged inner city population. His family said James worked tirelessly to get as many people gainfully employed as he could.
James was also a prominent proponent for strengthening family bonds while working under the auspices of the National Comprehensive Center for Fathers.
“He worked to the best of his abilities to assist men who may have made some mistakes in fortifying their relationships with their children, communities and most importantly, God,” his family said.
His family said he was an extremely gifted orator who had an uncanny ability for influencing others. He dressed impeccably and loved music, particularly jazz and R&B. According to his family, James was a great dancer who would stop to appreciate his love of music and dance, anywhere at anytime.
“Those fortunate to have known him, loved him for his enormous passion for life,” his family said.
At the time of his death, he was an active member of Men’s Choir and Usher Board at Vine Memorial Baptist Church.
In addition to his wife, James is survived by his daughter, Ife Nilaya James; son, Arthur Henry James II; grandchildren, James Scott III, Faith Ella Estee Campbell, Julia Marion Verlene James and Arthur Henry James III; daughter-in-law, Fatima James; stepson, Travis Smith; godson, Love McCune and other relatives and friends.
Services were held April 8 at Vine Memorial Baptist Church, 5600 West Girard Ave.
Wood Funeral Home handled the arrangements.