James Cradle

James C. Cradle

Board Member

James C. Cradle, Dean Emeritus, continues to contribute to the lives of young people beyond his forty plus years at Brookline High School. As a retired Dean, as well as founder and teacher of the African American Studies Course and co-founder of the African American Scholars Program at Brookline High, Cradle is a much sought after leader and confidant. Cradle’s oratory skills are legendary. He is an eloquent speaker who is often asked to commemorate special events and ceremonies, recognizing and honoring young people who have accomplished a range of personal and community wide goals. He has an uncanny ability to capture the hearts and minds of an auditorium full of high school students or a community theater full of residents, town officials and other dignitaries celebrating an occasion such as a town wide celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It matters not what walk of life one has traveled. Cradle is able to speak to the humanity of those assembled, from the youngest to the oldest. Cradle is also a regular guest lecturer at area universities, providing a primary source for those studying moments in our country’s ongoing fight for civil rights. As an historian, he offers a firsthand account of several of the pivotal historical chapters from the late sixties. He generously shares his perspective from his own experiences growing up in the segregated south in Portsmouth, Virginia to attending one of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities, North Carolina A&T in Greensboro, North Carolina where he earned his degree in African American History and Education. Cradle is able to tie these experiences together such that there is a greater understanding of the legacy of those who fought and died during that period of our history. He lays the foundation for many to better understand the causes and the continued conditions of racial disparity in our schools today. Since retiring in 2007, he continues to serve as a mentor to countless young people in Brookline and the Boston area. He partners with families, teachers, administrators, and community folks to support the educational journey of those young people. As a sage advisor, Cradle also is an educational consultant. He has a following of many educators who seek his wisdom as they grapple with the struggles of living, working and facing systemic racism. He gives his time generously to support those who are drawn to him as they contend with personal and professional challenges. He is a father figure to many. In addition to his generosity of time, his giving spirit allows him to be impactful as he listens to understand and not to respond. He brings his body of knowledge and care to everything he undertakes. Presently, he is a member of the board of the Calculus Project, another indicator of his desire to contribute to the lives of those around him. James C. Cradle continues to make a significant contribution to the growth and development of young people and those who seek to elevate them. His commitment is unwavering.