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            James Thomas Braxton Jr. was born in Tulsa, OK to  James T. Braxton Sr. and Broxie Braxton on September 18, 1919.  His father was an elementary school principal and sang in the choir so he was surrounded by education and music at an early age.  He began playing the saxophone and violin at an early age. In his teens he felt a deep passion for music as he  enjoyed the big bands of Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Chick Webb, Ella Fitzgerald and many others as they toured on Route 66.  Since he was underaged young James even crawled through an AC vent to hear his favorite saxophonist Lester Young!

Braxton attended historicTuskegee Institute as a plumbing major, where his father was an alumni.  There he joined the school's big band The Tuskegee Melody Barons.  He also met Dr George Washington Carver while attending classes there.  After his second year he left school for the East Coast and performed in Philadelpia, New York, and Atlantic City for several years. 

He enlisted in the Army during World War II and served in the South Pacific.  After the war he married Bernice Hazel Roberts from Eufaula and finished his Bachelor's degree at Wylie College in Marshall, Texas.  During his years there he toured extensively with the Wiley Collegians with his brother Robert on alto sax and his brother in law Roy on baritone sax.  Later he added a master's degree from Nebraska University.

He taught music and other subjects in a variety of settings including Texas College, Okmulgee High School, and Douglas Elementary in El Paso where daughter Ruby was born.  The Braxtons moved to Lubbock in 1960 and shortly afterwards Thomas was born.  James worked tirelessly to build great  band and orchestra programs at EC Struggs, Dunbar High School, Alderson, Boseman, Atkins, and many other schools.  He also kept up a hectic performance schedule with the Roy Roberts combo, his own group and several others dance bands around the hub city. He retired in 1985 after 35 years of service in Lubbock Independent School District.

James Braxton has been a pillar in the Lubbock community for over 55 years and been a leader in   educational and civic organizations. He is a member of Mt Vernon United Methodist Church where he has served faithfully as the church's violinist for over 50 years!





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