Howard, James, 1942-


James Howard was born in November 1942 in Sturgis, a small town in Western Kentucky's Union County. From kindergarten through 9th grade, he attended the all-black school in Morganfield, riding a bus 11 miles each way because Sturgis had no black school. In 1956, at age 13, James joined other students in attempting to integrate the all-white Sturgis high school, which was only blocks from his home and offered science and foreign language programs not available at the Morganfield school. Their campaign to desegregate the schools received international media attention when protesters against integration blocked the streets, burned a cross in an evening demonstration, and generally harassed blacks in the community. A judicial order led to school integration a year later. Howard served in the U.S. Air Force, including intelligence duty in northeast Thailand during the Vietnam War. A graduate of Oklahoma State University with skills in management, mediation, human resources, and employee labor relations, he is the executive director of the Oklahoma state agency that conducts administrative hearings, arbitration, and mediation for more than 30,000 state employees.

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