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James Sheppard was born in New York City in 1924, to parents who had just emigrated from Antigua. He was the eldest of four siblings. He graduated high school in 1942, and served in the Army during World War II. He worked as an aviation mechanic after the war; in 1957 he was hired by the Federal Aviation Administration as an inspector, a job he continued until he retired in 1985. He married twice, and had five children and seven grandchildren. His family moved to Westbrook, Maine, in 1971, when the FAA transferred him to work at the Portland Jetport. He was an active member of the Lions Club, and mentored local students. He discusses raising children, his family history in the Caribbean, discrimination he has faced as an African American throughout his life, Portland’s growing community of African immigrants, and cultural differences between Maine and New York City.
New York City, 1924, World War II, Federal Aviation Administration, mentoring, Lions Club, Air Force, Black History Month, Portland Press Herald, Antigua, immigration, Portland Jetport, African American experience in Portland, African immigration to Maine, raising children, racism
Zukic, Sanela, "Sheppard, James" (2001). Home Is Where I Make It Oral History Project. 14.