James C. Morant was born on October 6, 1948 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the son of the late James and Lottie Morant. James was the baby of one older brother Eugene Morant and two sisters, Hillary Floyd and Loureen Jones.
Born to parents that emphasized family, tradition and hard work, obtaining an education was always important to James. He was educated in the Baltimore City Public School System, graduating with honors from the Dunbar Senior High School in 1966. He furthered his education at Morgan State College, graduating with a degree in History in 1970. He was a member of the honor program Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities 1969-1970. Further work at the American University, in Washington, D.C. took place in the mid 1970’s.
After graduating from college, James was a Social Science/ Program Analyst at the Medical Services Administration, Department of Health, Education and Welfare, where he worked on developmental assignments in Medicaid management and welfare policy. James held other analyst positions such as Program Analyst for the Division of Program Operation, Bureau of Quality Assurance, Public Health Service, DHEW and a Budget Analyst in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget, Office of the Secretary U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare. Continuing to work on public policy James went on to work for the Health Care Financing Administration which is known today as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. From there, James went on to work for the Environmental Protection Agency where he held Chief, Associate Director, Special Assistant and Senior Advisor roles, many of which required international travel.
On February 13, 1982 James married the love of his life Barbara Lewis (Morant) and spent his life as an outstanding provider, parent, mentor and friend. From the union of James and Barbara came James E. Morant and April R. Morant. Even after raising two children to college age, James had so much love to share that in 2008, he and Barbara officially, unofficially adopted a friend to James and April, by the name of Vernon Weathers who attributes much of his professional success to values quickly instilled in him by his adopted parents. In 2010, James gained the title of Pop-Pop and would never be the same. He proudly doted and obsessed on beautiful grand-daughter Maria, who could almost do no wrong. Pop-Pop and Maria could often be found eating all the fruit in the refrigerator, sharing a bowl of ice cream after dinner or having a conversation where he was wrong and she was right. Maria was of course his boss.
During his secondment from the US Environmental Protection Agency in August of 2005 until October of 2007, James served as a top-level advisor in the World Conservation Union (IUCN) USA Multilateral Office developing partnerships and collaborative relationships regarding natural resource conservation and environmental protection. Particular emphasis was placed on cooperation involving worldwide, high priority issues.
While coming to the close of a tremendous body of work in the Federal Government, James was the Senior Advisor for International Organizations Program at the EPA the Assistant Administrator for International Office. In that office he advised on a wide range of international programs and organizational issues. He coordinated EPA involvement in major multilateral international programs such as Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Group of 8 (G-8) interactions and as a conduit for information and advice to the EPA Administrator, Deputy Administrator and White House, other federal agencies and non-government stakeholders.
Outside of work, James’ passion was singing. James began singing in church at an early age, but did not find his niche as a soloist until a choir director heard him singing in the background at a music taping session and ask him to be a lead vocalist at the very next concert. Since then James has sung in and directed choirs on his own, performing at venues like The Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, Meyerhoff Symphony Hall in Baltimore, Cobo Hall in Detroit and Fox Theatre in Atlanta.
James was a member of the Gospel Music Workshop of America (GMWA), serving as the director of its Maryland Chapter for five years and directing the GMWA 2,500-voice National Recording Choir as it rehearsed for its recording session in St. Louis.
During his life, James was a member of three churches: Faith Baptist Church, Jones Tabernacle Baptist Church and The New Psalmist Baptist Church where he made sure to leave a little bit of his legacy at each church. While a member of Jones Tabernacle, James was a featured vocalist and director with the group “Tabernacle,” which mainly consisted of members from Jones Tabernacle Baptist Church and a few other members from around the city that took part in performances in France at the Montauban Jazz Festival, Remparts Jazz Festival and at the Vittoria-Gastiez Jazz Festival in Spain. While a member of New Psalmist, James was able to be a co-lyricist for a special composition performed by a small group of New Psalmist choir members at Windsor Castle in Windsor, England before His Royal Highness Prince Phillip and United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-moon. At their invitation they debuted “That’s What the Cross Would Say” to a standing-room only crowd at the Waterloo Room of the castle, securing the first standing ovation in its history.
As a result of making friends while traveling internationally for work, James was able to sing in clubs in France, Switzerland and Spain. James was even given the opportunity to be the Headliner for the All Jazz Club in Paris, France, creating his own jazz and gospel show called “Love Song from a Man’s Point of View.” James also served as a workshop leader and key vocalist in Carouge, Switzerland, Paris, France and other venues in the United States. For work, performances or both, James visited France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, Greece, Spain, Sweden, United Kingdom, Monaco, Chile, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands, Bahamas, Mexico, Canada, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Kenya, China, Japan, Singapore, Australia.
In 2009, James retired from government service, but never actually stopped working. Post retirement life included many new arenas for James. He served as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Faith in Water, a United Kingdom-based charity and as Vice Chairman of the Board of Generations Family Services, a non-profit organization based in Baltimore. Retirement also allowed James to participate in a new artistic expression, acting. Some of those acting accomplishments are:
2012 - Played famous role of charismatic preacher, Rev. Randolph A. Winter, in the highly acclaimed off-Broadway musical, “Mama, I Want to Sing” in New York, New York
2013 - Played Bishop Theodore Allgood in the London, England Tour of “Tell Hell I Ain’t Comin”
2014 - Played Rev. Davis in the hit stage play “Ain’t No Love Like A Mother’s Love in Baltimore, Maryland at the Lyric Opera House
2015 - Played Choir Director Dr. Raymond Jennings in “DisChord in the Choir”
2015 - Played Jerome Nolan, Sr. in stage drama “The Family Mantle in Chicago, Illinois
2017 - Featured soloist in the Baltimore Center Stage Production of “The Christians”
2018 - Background singer and extra in “Mass”
In 2017, James became a published author after having completed his book Social Media and Me: A Fossil’s Tale, which chronicles the experience of a senior citizen (James) coping with new technology and communications platforms in an era of change and societal shifts. A series of one hundred thirty-four essays on culture, race, politics and the media. This literary offering reached #3 in politics on Amazon in late 2017.
James became so enthralled in his love to help affect positive change in Baltimore and the world that he even successfully tried his hand at radio. James became the co-host of Patrick Henderson’s “Meet the People” public affairs programs on WWIN and WOLB radio stations. On the radio show they discuss current affairs and other issues of importance to the local and national community while inviting callers to call in to interact with the hosts. James had many strong opinions and was never afraid to share them, so James would occasionally get into spirited discussions with callers or invited studio guests.
After a massive stroke and continued complications as a result of the stroke, James Morant departed this life on January 11, 2020 at 12:20am quietly and peacefully with his wife/best friend at his side. James leaves to honor and cherish his memory a devoted and loving wife Barbara; three children James E. Morant, April Morant, Vernon Weathers (Kenneth); grand-daughter Maria N. Price; sisters in law, Leslie Lewis, Audrey Lawson, Deborah Lewis; aunts Minnie Styles and Beatrice White; uncle James Brown; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends and Facebook friends. James’ infectious personality along with his humble and capable spirit will surely be missed worldwide.
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