Paducah native, James T. Morris is the son of the late Samuel and Mattie Wright Morris. He is married to Lisha DeGail Price-Morris. They have three Sons, Damien, Tyler and Dominique. Dr. Morris entered the Ministry in 1979. He is currently the proud Pastor of the historic Carter Tabernacle C.M.E. Church in Orlando, Florida.
Morris was educated in the public school system of Paducah, Kentucky. He graduated with honors from Paducah Tilghman High School, where he served as Class President and was inducted into the Who’s Who for High School Students. During his junior year, he was chosen by the faculty of Paducah Tilghman High School to represent the school as a delegate to Kentucky Boys State. Once there he excelled and was elected by his peers from across the state as Governor of Bluegrass Boys State.
Morris received the Carr four year Presidential Scholarship to Murray State University. He graduated with a B.S. degree in Political Science/Public Administration with a Minor in religion. While at Murray State he was elected a member of the Student Senate. He organized the campuses first Black Ecumenical Ministry and became a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
In 1984 he enrolled in the Interdenominational Theological Seminary/Phillips School of Theology. Quickly making a name for himself, he became active in student affairs. He was elected President of the Class and President of the Student Association for all three years of his matriculation. He organized and operated the schools first on campus bookstore called the Phillips Bookstore. He was selected as a delegate from the seminary to the World Council of Churches in Switzerland. He also represented the seminary as a delegate of to the National Council of Churches meetings for three years.
Morris continued his studies at Iliff School of Theology in Denver, Colorado and Ashford School of Religion earning a Master’s degree in Religious Education in 1987. In 1990 he earned a Doctor of Divinity degree from Canterbury University.
While serving as pastor of St. Peter CME Church in Kansas City, Kansas, Reverend Morris joined the faculty and staff of St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri serving as Assistant Dean of Admissions, then becoming Director of Student Development. He was also Instructor of African American Methodism, Black Church History and Field Education.
He has twice served as a Presiding Elder in the C.M.E. Church. During his tenure in St. Louis he distinguished himself as a true statesman and a champion for the rights of people. He served as Vice-President of the Interfaith Partnership of Metropolitan St. Louis. President of Operation Respond and Provide St. Louis, an agency which sent food, clothing and over $30,000 to the gulf coast region for relief of victims of Hurricane Katrina; a member of the Board of Directors of St. Louis Jobs for Justice; a member of the Board of Directors for Faith Beyond Walls; Missouri Healthcare for All and the St. Louis Clergy Coalition. He was a founding member and Co-Chair for M.O.S.E.S. (Metropolitan Organization Strengthening and Empowering Society). Dr. Morris was a member of the St. Louis City branch of the NAACP, and an affiliate of the St. Louis County Branch of the NAACP.
As a Missouri State Legislature, he made significant contributions and provided leadership for the campaign for Living Wage, Insuring the Un-Insured, Worker’s rights, Labor Issues, Health Care, Social Security, Medicaid, Jobs with Justice, Senior Citizens Rights and Peoples with Disabilities to name a few. He has successfully led the fight to restore Missouri’s Medicaid cuts. He organized and Led marches and protests throughout the state of Missouri. He has appeared on numerous talk shows and panels fighting for people’s rights. Most recently, he helped lead the fight which resulted in the passing of a constitutional amendment for the state of Missouri, known as the Stem Cell Initiative. He is also responsible for leading the charge to get the state’s minimum wage increased. And as a legislator he sponsored and passed over 100 pieces of legislation that are now laws in the state of Missouri. His crown and glory legislation is the bill which led to the building of the new $695 million dollar Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge spanning the Mississippi River between the states of Missouri and Illinois.
He has received hundreds of awards and recognitions for his service to the citizens of Missouri. In the December 2006 and 2008 issues of St. Louis Magazine he was featured as one of St. Louis’ Fifty Most Powerful People. He hosted his own radio talk shows named “Speaking Truthfully” and “Morris In The Morning” WGNU 920AM, and “It’s A Brand New Day” on KXEN. He has published several articles and journals and is currently working on completing his first book.