Monday, February 1, 2016 - 2:45pm

What began as Madison Middle School 2000 emerged into James C. Wright Middle School due to the active participation, desires and concerns of area residents. Dozens of people submitted a request to the Madison School Board to name the new school after the late Reverend James Colemon Wright of Mount Zion Baptist Church.

The Reverend James. C. Wright was pastor of Mt. Zion Baptist Church and Executive Director of the Madison Equal Opportunities Commission. Reverend Wright was a native of Camden, South Carolina, where he graduated from Mather Academy. He completed his pre-theological training at Virginia Union University and studied philosophy and theology at Wilberforce University and Payne A.M.E. Theological Seminary.

He also was a Ford Fellow and completed graduate work in community relations at the Urban Training Center of Chicago. Reverend Wright and his wife, Jacqueline, established Jackie and Jimmy's Beauty and Barber Shop. In doing so, the Wrights became pioneer minority business owners in Madison.

Reverend Wright was a civil rights pioneer in Madison. He worked to bring about the adoption of the City of Madison's Equal Opportunities Ordinance. He served as a member of the Equal Opportunities Commission prior to his appointment as Executive Director. He retired in 1992 after 24 years of service to the City.

During his tenure with the City, Reverend Wright spearheaded the drafting of the City's first Affirmative Action ordinance, and developed a complaint resolution process for the Commission that provided a make-whole remedy for victims of discrimination. Reverend Wright was a devoted father to his children, Deana Wright and Colemon Wright. He was a loving grandfather to his three grandchildren, Derek Gregory, Britini Chavis, and Cosha Wright.

Colemon Wright was the Project Manager in the construction of James C. Wright Middle School. Reverend Wright's leadership, commitment to equal opportunity, legacy of service to the community, and dedication to children was demonstrated in his contributions to the establishment of James C. Wright Middle School.The school is a fitting memorial to James C. Wright, the pastor, the civil rights activist, the father, the husband, the man.

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