|| (June 12, 1886 - May 14, 1961) James Leonard Farmer, Sr., was the son of Carolina and Lorena Wilson Farmer. James Farmer studied at Cookman Institute in Florida before attending Boston University, where he received a bachelors degree in 1913, a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree in 1916, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1918. He also attended graduate school at Harvard University in 1917.
An elder in the Methodist Episcopal Church, Farmer served as pastor of churches in Marshall, Texarkana, and Galveston. He also taught philosophy and religion here at Wiley College, at Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, at Samuel Huston (now Huston-Tillotson) College in Austin, at Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Georgia, at Gulfside Ministerial Training School in Waveland, Mississippi, and at Howard University School of Divinity in Washington, D.C.
A popular speaker, Farmer also was the author of several books, as well as biblical commentary and articles for secular magazines. Farmer married Pearl Houston; they were the parents of three children. Their son, James Leonard Farmer, Jr., became a prominent civil rights leader in the 1960s and founder of the Congress of Racial Equality. Farmer, Sr., retired in 1956, died in 1961, and was buried in Washington, D.C. (1997)