Harold James, the eldest of three children, was born to the late Nellie Mae Moore and Edward James, Sr. in Philadelphia, PA on August 7th, 1942. His brother Edward, Jr and Linda James preceded him in death. Harold was raised in a Christian home and accepted our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ at an early age. His committed service was at Tasker Street Missionary Baptist Church under the leadership of Pastor, James A. Lovett, II.
Although Harold was a lifelong resident of South Philadelphia, he was a proud graduate of West Philadelphia High School class of 1960, where he was known as “Apdula” by friends and a “Ladies” Man by many. Harold served in the United States Army from 1961 to 1964. Following his Honorable discharge, Harold returned home and joined the Philadelphia Police Department.
As a Police Officer, Harold served the city with distinction for twenty-two years. During this time, Harold earned a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and an Associate degree in Criminal Justice, along with a certificate in Police Science from Temple University. Noting the disparities among officers in the Police Department and the communities in which they served, Harold led an effort for resolve by becoming a foundational member and ultimately President of the Guardian Civic League, an organization of Philadelphia African American Police Officers. It was during this time that Harold sought a medium to socialize and discuss solutions to the injustices, which gave birth to his monthly radio show entitled, “The Justice Hour”. His show has been a staple on the air since 1979 and can be heard on WURD 900AM.
Harold’s passion to address social injustices in his community, paired with the nature in which he loss his eldest daughter, he ran and was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in 1988. He tirelessly represented the citizens of the 186th Legislative district for twenty years and sought to influence policy to make a change for the better. As State Representative, he received many accolades and considered his greatest accomplishment helping further the mission of various community groups, one in which he co-founded is N.E.E.E.D of Philadelphia, a non-profit whose primary mission is to provide financial assistance to students seeking higher education.
Harold followed in his father’s Masonry footsteps and became a 33rd degree Mason of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons, which is the highest level of Masonry. Additionally, he was a Board member of the Philadelphia Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
On October 19, 1962, Harold united in Holy Matrimony to the late Christine Daniels. To this union came three children, Veranica affectionately known as Tinie, who preceded him in death, Karen and Shelina. After this union, Harold continued his family legacy with the births of Jamhar, Dawn and Ebony-lin.
Throughout life, Harold conquered health battles; from being shot in the line of duty, to beating the odds with cancer, to kicking COVID to the curb. He was resilient and continued to defy the odds against him, but on April 28th at 9:25 PM, GOD said, “Well done my good and faithful servant” and sent his chariot to carry Harold into his eternal life of service.
Harold leaves to cherish and honor his lifelong legacy: daughters, Karen (fiancé Jimmy McCray), Shelina, Dawn and Ebony-lin; son, Jamhar; son-in-law, Melvin Hands, Sr; five grandchildren, Melvin Jr. (Kassandra), Latoya (David), Breanna, Zykeim and Christian; eight great-grandchildren, Melvin III, Tanaiyah, Eyana, Tamairah, Syncir, Tameyah, Synai and Harmony; five great-great grandchildren, special cousin, affectionately known as “his sister”, Evelyn Scott-Williams, best friend, John Green and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and neighbors who were touched by the life he lived.