James Jennings received a B.A. from Hunter College in 1971, and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University in 1976. His dissertation is titled, “Puerto Rican Leadership Patterns in New York City”. He was appointed Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning at Tufts University in 2001. Professor Jennings has taught graduate courses on social policy and community development; and race and class in U.S. society.
Between 1979 and 1983 he served on the faculty of Harvard University as Assistant Professor of Afro American Studies. He taught the following undergraduate courses: Black Politics; Ethnic Politics; Black Urban Communities; Politics of Urban Education; Puerto Rican Politics; and Black Political Thought.
In 1983 he was appointed Dean of the College of Public and Community Service at the University of Massachusetts Boston. After serving five years in this position he was appointed Director of the William Monroe Trotter Institute and then Senior Fellow at The Trotter Institute and Professor of Political Science in the Africana Studies Department until 2001.
Professor Jennings has held visiting appointments at Northeastern University; Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Yale University.
He has served on editorial boards for The African-American Almanac, 6th ed., Sage Race Relations Abstracts, Souls: A Journal of Black Culture, and the Encyclopedia of Race and Ethnic Studies.