James Brown was born in Norfolk, Virginia on November 27, 1897. His parents were Lavinia Griggs and D.H. Brown. Both of his parents were born and raised in Norfolk, Virginia. The Browns were Baptists and raised James as a Baptist as well. The highest level of education James reached was high school. After he completed high school, James decided he wanted to enlist in the United States Navy.
On December 14,1917 James enlisted in the United States Navy. His enlisted rank was a sailor and his first assignment was at the Naval Hospital in Portsmouth Virginia. A year later he had his first and only daughter, Earnistine Roberts Brown, with wife Katie Brown. A year after that, James’s military service ended in August 8, 1919. His final rank was Mess Attendant, first class. James worked at the United States Post Office in Norfolk until his retirement.
“James Brown,” World War I History Commission Questionnaires, Library of Virginia.
United States Census, 1900-1940.
Xavier Sivels-Farrington is a history major at Norfolk State University.