Fort Greene

James Roberts III “Brother James”

James Roberts (1952 – 2018) would walk throughout the streets of Brooklyn and Harlem with his staph carved of wood. The handle for him to grab as he took each step was the symbol of the Egyptian UNK. He greeted everyone with “Huru on the Arising,” which means arise and shine for the glory of god is upon you.

His upbringing was in the Gowanus Houses but he later resided in the Atlantic Terminal Development in Fort Greene. A true pillar in the community with a warm heart of gold, always ready and working effortlessly with others to connect youth and elders.

A gifted artist, he was a playwright, poet and storyteller as an active member of the Harlem Uptown Playwrights. He was supportive to all who were in need of his ear and wisdom, including his fellowship with many on the journey to maintain their sobriety. 

Brother James was an active member of the executive board of the Atlantic Terminal Tenant’s Association. He co-created and curated African American History month. His other accomplishments include: Play-writing collaboration with University Settlement Share Performance Project, Founding Member of the Intergenerational Community Arts Council (ICAC); Congo Square Drummers; Future Historical Society.

Portrait by

Tanja Richardson

Fatal poet, community activist, WOW Chapt #38, CB2 Member, BRIC Intergenerational Community Arts Council (ICAC), BRIC Future Historical Society, Breakine Rise, Event Planner and CEO of Class Act Entertainment 2. “Don’t take your dreams to the cemetery, make it reality.”

Thank you to Celeste Staton, Jessica Sucher, Mary McLellan, Victoria Jacobs, Solomon Wilson, Daniel Morgan, Ed Tyree, Petra Medero, Baba Israel, Annie Brown, and Shakilla for gathering on May 31, 2019 to share stories and photos of Brother James. Thank you to Jordan Rathkopf and BRIC for providing additional photos.

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