Saturday, February 23, 2019

D'Jaris Hinton Watson (1928-1989)

From the New York Recorder, November 27, 1965.

   Columbia, North Carolina native D'Jaris Hinton Watson attained prominence in government service in both Pennsylvania and New York City, with administrative work under one Philadelphia mayor and three mayors of New York City. A member of the Committee on Equal Employment Opportunity under Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, Watson was also an alternate delegate to the Democratic National Convention of 1964, earning her a place here on the site. Born D'Jaris Hinton in South Carolina on November 2, 1928, she would graduate from the Talladega College in the class of 1948 and went on to study at the Atlanta University of Social Work, where she earned her master's degree.
  A resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in the early 1950s, D'Jaris Hinton began her career in government service in the administration of  Joseph S. Clark, who served as Mayor of Philadephia from 1952-56. Hinton would hold the post of public information specialist under Clark and in July 1956 married in New York City to James Lopez Watson (1922-2001). A notable figure in his own right, Watson was a veteran of WWII  who in 1954 became one of the first African-Americans elected to the New York state senate. Serving until 1963, Watson later was a civil judge in New York City and in 1966 was appointed by President Lyndon Johnson as a judge on the U.S. Customs Court. He would serve on the bench until his death (having attained senior status in 1991) and is remarked to have been the first African-American federal judge to "receive assignments in the South." The couple were wed for three decades and would have two children, Karen and Kris, as well as a son from her previous marriage, Norman Jenkins.

From the Pittsburgh Courier, July 28, 1956.

  Following their marriage, the Watson's resided in Manhattan and in the late 1950s, D'Jaris Watson served as an advisor to mayor Robert S. Wagner, being a member of the Citizen's Committee for the Children of New York City, and in November 1963 was named by Wagner to the twelve member New York City Advisory Board of Public Welfare. Watson's prominence in city social work and civil rights causes would later be brought to the attention of President John F. Kennedy, who selected her to serve on his Equal Employment Opportunity Committee in 1963. After Kennedy's assassination in November of that year, Watson was reappointed to that committee by President Lyndon Johnson, and in December 1963 rode with him to the United Nations building where he gave an address.
  In 1964 D'Jaris Watson served as an alternate delegate on the New York delegation to the Democratic National Convention held in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Further honors came Watsons's way with her appointment to several New York City administrative committees, those being the New York City Youth Board, the executive committee of the Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, and from 1975-76 was a member the mayor's committee on the Judiciary, being appointed by Mayor Abraham Beame. Stricken with cancer in the late 1980s, D'Jaris Hinton Watson died in November 1989 at age 61. She was survived by her husband and children and a burial location for her remains unknown at this time.

Judge James L. Watson and D'Jaris Watson, from Jet Magazine, April 1966.

No comments:

Post a Comment