Jim Emison

Jim Emison, resident of Alamo, Tennessee, retired in 2011 after forty three years as a courtroom lawyer. Since, Emison has worked as an independent investigative historian.  His interests are civil rights and the history of West Tennessee.  He is a member of the West Tennessee Historical Society and a Silver Life member of the NAACP.

Since 2012 Jim has been investigating, speaking, and writing about Elbert Williams, the first known NAACP official killed for his civil rights activity, June 20, 1940, in Brownsville, Tennessee. Jim was instrumental in obtaining an official State of Tennessee historical marker honoring Williams, and in holding a Memorial Service for Elbert Williams on the 75th anniversary of his death.

Emison received his B. A. in history from Vanderbilt University in 1965, and his J. D. from the University of Tennessee College of Law 1968, where he was on the Law Review, and earned multiple academic awards.  

Admitted to the Bar in 1968, Mr. Emison served 1968-1969 as law clerk for the Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, followed by three years in the US Navy JAGC, before entering private law practice in 1972.

Emison is one of only two persons who have served as President of both the Tennessee Bar Association and the Tennessee Trial Lawyers Association. He also served six years on the Tennessee Judicial Selection Commission.

In 1968, Emison and Elizabeth Wells married. Their son Theo, is a lawyer in San Francisco, their daughter in law Carrie is also a lawyer. The Emisons’  grand-daughters, Avery and Ella, are students.