James R. Mapp, 87, civil rights advocate, businessman and community leader, quietly died at his home on June 19, 2015, in Chattanooga, Tennessee, surrounded by family after a lifetime of public service.
Born in 1927 in Milledgeville, Ga., Mr. Mapp migrated to Chattanooga with his family at an early age and attended public schools. He also participated in the Boys Scouts where he was awarded the highest rank of Eagle Scout. After graduation from Howard High School as the class president, in 1947, he briefly attended Tennessee A&I University.
Mr. Mapp was a member of Orchard Knob Missionary Baptist Church and served in numerous capacities including trustee, Boy Scout leader, choir member, Sunday School teacher and many, many other capacities.
He was best known for his leadership with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) where he continuously served since the 1940s, as a youth leader, board member, the Chattanooga president for three decades, the state president, and other elected positions.
Mr. Mapp was also widely known as a businessman with North Carolina Mutual Insurance Company prior to launching his own insurance and real estate companies in the 1960s. He retired his license as a real estate broker in 2012.
In 2010, Mr. Mapp was honored by the State of Tennessee with the naming of the James R. Mapp State Office Building in recognition of his lifelong devotion to social and economic justice for people of color and his commitment to creating a better community for all.
He is survived by his wife of two decades, Bettye McCoy Mapp, nine children, Brenda (Wilbur) Hackett, Deborah Mapp-Embry, Michaellee Duckworth, James Jonathan (Ventra) Mapp, Angela M. Fritts, H. Anthony (Kim) Mapp, all of Louisville, KY, Jimmie R. Jack, Jr. of Chicago, and Alicia Mapp and Ivy Barksdale of Lexington, Ky. He is also survived by a host of extended family members including a special niece, Sandra O’Neal Smith of Chattanooga, a host of grandchildren, great-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, and in-laws.
Mr. Mapp was preceded in death by his wife of 46 years, Viola Martin Mapp, parents, James Albert Mapp and Mattie Mapp Davis, and sister, Mary Mapp O’Neal.
The family will receive friends on Friday, June 26, from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 5-8 p.m. at Orchard Knob Missionary Baptist Church at 1734 E. 3rd Street, Chattanooga. On Saturday, June 27, a viewing will be held from 10-11 am to be followed by funeral services at 11 a.m. at Orchard Knob Missionary Baptist Church with Pastor Carlos D. Williams officiating.
Arrangements are by John P. Franklin Funeral Home, 1101 Dodds Ave., 622-9995.