Rev. James O. Ellis, 1951-2004

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Rev. James O. Ellis, 1951-2004




Dr. James Oliver Ellis (1951-2004) was a pastor and educator known for his love of his community and willingness to sacrifice his own resources for the betterment of others. As pastor of Tuscaloosa’s First African Baptist Church, he oversaw an extensive building campaign and worked to further education and humanitarian causes in the community.

During his almost 15 years at First African Baptist, Ellis organized two choirs, began a building program that continued beyond his service as pastor, established the Maude L. Whatley Scholarship Fund, and purchased additional property and transportation for the church. He was instrumental in the renaming of 27th Avenue in honor of Rev. T.Y. Rogers, Jr., and taught at several area colleges and universities, as well as serving as interim chaplain at Stillman College.

Ellis was heavily involved in his community, serving on the boards of Whatley Health Services and Birmingham Theological Seminary as well as holding leadership roles with the National Baptist Convention, Alabama Baptist State Convention, and Tuscaloosa Ministerial Alliance. The James O. Ellis Health Center on Greensboro Avenue and the James O. Ellis Educational Building at First African Baptist Church are named in his memory.


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