James Farmer Jr. was a native of Marshall, Texas, who attended Wiley College, a historically black college, where his father was also a Professor. James Farmer Jr. was selected as part of the first debate teams at Wiley College. Melvin B. Tolson, a professor of English, was his mentor.
In 1942, Farmer co-founded the Committee of Racial Equality in Chicago with George Houser and Bernice Fisher. It was later called the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and was dedicated to ending racial segregation in the United States through nonviolence.
During the 1950s, Farmer served as national secretary of the Student League for Industrial Democracy (SLID), the youth branch of the socialist League for Industrial Democracy. The organization later became Students for a Democratic Society.
By the 1960s, Farmer was known as one of the “Big Four” Civil Rights leaders, which included Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., NAACP Chief Roy Wilkins, and Urban League head Whitney Young.
In 1995, the City of Marshall renamed Barney Street to James Farmer Street in honor of him and his father. The Homesite of James Farmer Jr. is located on James Farmer Street in Marshall, Texas.
The West Marshall Community Development Corporation of Marshall, Texas, is a nonprofit 501c3 organization. Our goal is to raise $100,000 to purchase the James Farmer property and to restore the home into a museum as well as to create provisions to improve James Farmer Street.
Restoring the homesite and establishing it as a museum will honor his contributions to the world as an educator and Civil Rights leader, and will enhance the Marshall Community.