James L. Conyers Jr.

 In Jersey City, New Jersey at the Margaret Hague Hospital on June 17, 1961, a son, James (Jim/Naazir) L. Conyers Jr. was born with joyful surprise to Mr. James L. Conyers Sr. and Mrs. Agnes Conyers. Raised in the Jersey City public school system, Naazir graduated from Henry Snyder High School in 1979. Following, he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Arts from Ramapo College. In 1983 he joined the oldest and coldest brotherhood of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, Zeta Nu Lambda chapter. While attending Ramapo, Naazir met and fell hopelessly in love with Jacqueline Pierce. They married in East Orange, New Jersey on May 30, 1985. To this union, they were blessed with two sons, James Sekou Conyers III and Fredrick Kamau Conyers. He continued his studies by obtaining a masters in Africana Studies from the University of Albany in 1984, studied Kiswahili, the Swahili language, at Cornell University in 1991, and completed his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in African American Studies at Temple University in Philadelphia in 1992. He spent time at Columbia University within the Oral History Institute in the summer of 1995. Jim worked as a graduate faculty fellow which subsequently became a full professor of Black Studies and courtesy professor of history at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. In 2002, he moved to Houston, Texas, where his family now resides, as he became the director of the African American Studies Program and full professor of African American Studies at the University of Houston. Alongside teaching, Dr. Conyers had a heart for research which is reflected in the over 40 books he wrote and/or collaborated on.  Additionally, he worked in Archival and Oral History Research with the University of Ghana, the University of Science & Technology, and the University of Cape Coast from 2003-2006. Throughout his career, Jim was passionate about creating opportunities for others. Among these, the study abroad program in conjunction with the University of Ghana stands out as a significant passion project in his life. For many students, the summers they spent in Ghana became a pivotal experience in their educational journey. Watching his students grow through this program brought Dr. Conyers insurmountable pride and joy. Jim was a proud member of the National Council of Black Studies and served on the National Board for 22 years. He served on the Board of Trustees from 2000-2007 for the Irving Louis Horowitz Foundation Social Policy with Rutgers University and Transactions Publications. He was a part of the Association of Black Sociologists for 19 years, and the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History for 33 years. Dr. Conyers was the recipient of numerous accolades and awards over the course of his academic career. Jim was committed to his community and his faith as a loyal member of Wheeler Avenue Baptist Church. As an accomplished author, philanthropist, scholar, impactful mentor, activist, father, and friend, he leaves an immeasurable legacy that has laid a foundation for generations to come. James (Jim/Naazir) L. Conyers Jr. transitioned to the realm of the ancestors on Monday, January 25, 2021. He is preceded in death by his parents, James L. Conyers Sr. and Agnes Conyers, his sister, Gwen Woods, his grandson Hendrix L. Conyers, and the endeared love of his life and mother of his sons, Jacqueline I. Conyers. He leaves behind to cherish his memories sons, James Sekou Conyers III (wife, Salomé B. Conyers), Fredrick K. Conyers, his grandson, James Kareem Conyers IV, his nephew Chad Hawkins, his goddaughter, Ayanna Jamison, endeared extended family, friends, and colleagues. There will be a visitation at 11 a.m. on February 1st, 2021 at Crowder Funeral Home 2422 E. Broadway St., Pearland, TX 77581, with a Funeral Service to follow at 12 noon. The Conyers family would like to thank all who have expressed their sympathy during this time. We greatly appreciate your love, prayers, and abundant thoughtfulness. In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions may be directed toward the William Alexander Lawson Social Justice Scholarship Endowment. Asé!

Link for William Alexander Lawson Social Justice Scholarship Endowment https://giving.uh.edu/gift/?allocation=HE67204RN  


  1. My Heartfelt Sympathy to the CONYERS Family! Rest In Peace Brother-In-Law and give my Sister, Jackie, a great big hug and kiss for me! I’m truly thankful for all NAAZIR has done for Me and my Family. We’re here for you during this difficult time!

    Nila Williams
  2. I express my deepest condolences to the Conyers family. You dad was a good man. I met Jim at Ramapo College. I am also from Jersey City,Nj. His home town. James is going to be truly missed. Blessings!

    Michael Morris
  3. Dr James L Conyers is gone to the ancestors, but his legacy lives on.

    My first meeting with Dr Conyers was in the Summer of 2003 when he brought a group of students to Ghana for a month’s Study Abroad lĺlProgramme. For over 10 years my company coordinated his SAPs to Ghana.

    He offered me the opportunity to be guest of the African American Studies department twice.

    Dr Conyers was a perfectionist. His passion included helping interested students, faculty and others to understand and appreciate Africa through the SAPs he organised.

    My condolences to his family and the University.

    May his soul rest in perfect peace.

    Kwaku Passah Snr
    • I was on of those 5 students on the initial SAP in 2003. I appreciate Dr. Conyers bringing us and you for giving us one of the best experiences that I’ve had to date.

      Danyahel (Danny) Norris
  4. Kwaheri mjomba, utakumbukwa!

    Thank you for seeing worth and value in me and many other students at the University of Houston. Every single time I had a conversation with you, I would walk away feeling empowered. You were the true definition of a mentor and scholar. I am SURE … going to miss you texting me Twi and Swahili words to learn.

    Finally, I can now say that I have WALKED among great MEN! What a LEGACY!

    My condolences to your sons and family. Thank you for sharing your father and family member with us.

    ASE …

    Kwaheri mjomba

    Mamisi Gordon - Allen
  5. Michael and Vanessa Jamison are very sorry for your loss and may God bless you and yours during this time.

    Michael Rey Jamison
  6. Dr. Conyers will always hold a special place in my heart !!!

    It is because of him I know so much about my history, was able to study abroad in Ghana & try to help everyone understand/learn our history.

    He taught my brother & I & our parents feel as if they know him, because of how much we always praised him for what he taught us.

    He is truly a legend.

    You did an amazing job here Dr. Conyers. I know our ancestors welcomed you with open arms & thanked you for representing them so well. Thank you for the life lessons you taught me over the years. We will make you proud & make sure your name lives forever!

    TaMeika Carter
  7. Neuroscience is not something that comes easy to me. But I am my motivated by my curiosity to learn more about this complex organ called the brain. When I took the medical neuroscience class during grad school I studied the information at least 3 times, once before class, during class, and then after class. Dr. Conyers was the reason I was able to do this. You see when I was in my first year of grad school Dr. Hannay told me how she could count the number of black neuropsychologists on her hand. And at the time there were no black professors in the UH Clinical Psych program. She offered me the opportunity to be a teaching assistant with the UH African American Studies Program. Even though Dr. Conyers wasn’t a clinical psychologist or neuropsychologist this would allow me the opportunity to have support from someone in academia who looks like me. Dr. Conyers and everyone in the department welcomed me with open arms. Even though I was ready to do what was asked of me as a TA, they never really tasked me with doing much like grading papers or things that many TA’s would have to do. As such, I often used my TA time to review what was taught in medical neuroscience that morning. I desperately needed time to do that. Id have occasional talks with Dr Conyers about my studies and just life in general. I always knew how much he loved his sons and how much he loved his work at UH and in the community. I don’t know if Dr. Conyers and Dr. Hannay ever understood how much I needed that type of TA position, how that set me up for success or maybe they did know…they went the extra mile to make sure as a black female in a field that is growing with more of us, that I had the supports I needed to be successful. They just “got it”. I met with Dr. Conyers maybe about a little over a year ago…almost ten years later from my first year in grad school. I updated him about my career in private practice and that I made it through!!! Haha! He was just the same laid back encouraging intellect that I always knew him to be. I am so proud of the accomplishments and growth he brought to UH and the African American Studies Program. My heart dropped when I learned about his passing, he’s just the kind of person you expect to I don’t know…be around for a long time. So happy that Michael as a UH professor, got to meet him as I would always say you have to meet Dr. Conyers!!! His passing is a great loss, but I smile in knowing the legacies he leaves on this earth. Rest peacefully Dr. Conyers!

    Baruch Williams
  8. Mighty Warrior!
    Thank you for your service on this earth, Dr. James Conyers, Jr.!


    kYmberly Keeton
  9. Dr. Conyers meant so much to us. He was more than just a scholar, but more like a father figure and friend, who was always willing to help others. We love him for that and so much more. My sincerest condolences to his family.

    Brandon Jahari Pittman
  10. To the Conyers family I want to say thank you for sharing him with us all these years.

    Dr. Conyers I will miss the days of undergrad when I could walk into the office because I didn’t want to go to class to just sit at your table and listen to you talk about how to navigate through life. You were the whole embodiment of what it meant to be a “MAN”. Thank you for teaching a young 18 year boy from AZ what it meant to be black and educated.To walk in a light that was ordained for me even when people told me no. I will always remember our check in phone calls and the soothing sound of your voice telling me “seems like you got a plan”. I know you walk among us as an ancestor and your legacy will live in us and among us forever. I will continue to make you proud Doc. Until next time.

    Devin Sanders
  11. Dr. Conyers always encouraged me that I would get to where I’m going. He is also the reason why I was able to go to Ghana. He was so kind and selfless. He made us feel like we belonged. It’s so important to have black professors in these spaces and Dr. Conyers was a leader in that aspect. He always made sure my family and I were doing well and he also wrote my recommendation letter right before he transitioned. Great teacher & mentor. Wouldn’t be where I am today without his guidance and support. Love and light to his family, especially his sons. He always spoke highly of you guys and loved you very much. Love you Dr. Conyers!

    Mehalet Berhe
  12. Thank you for sharing Dr. Conyers with us. He was an intellectual and gentle giant, and he will live on forever through us. Mikey Fields

    Mikey Fields
  13. I was profoundly shocked and equally saddened to learn of Naazir’s transition to the ancestral realm. My association with him, albeit fleeting, was impactful. I shall never forget when he invited me, a young scholar and fellow Temple University DAAS alum, to the University of Houston to present my dissertation research. Subsequently, he included one of my articles in one of his many edited collections, imparting me with the honor of being a part of his remarkable story.

    Godspeed to his sons and all his family, friends, and students who loved him. May the, no doubt, countless memories of him comfort and sustain you now and forever more. Asé.

    Dr. Pamela D. Reed
  14. My condolences to my brother and my friend. We have been friends since the 1960s. Childhood friends played youth football my brother in Alpha phi Alpha. The Penn relays were a yearly event. I going to miss you my brother. I know that your sons will continue the legacy that you and Jackie left for them .

    Gregory Mainor
  15. Condolences to the family of Dr. James L. Conyers, Jr. May the work that you’ve done speak for you! Remember Psalms 121:1-2 family and especially, your two sons!

    Dr. Howard Bartee, Jr.
  16. I will miss my friend and colleague. He was a brilliant scholar who was deeply committed to the liberation of our people. He will be greatly missed. My condolences to his family, friends, students, and colleagues.

    Dr. Mark Christian
  17. I met Dr. Conyers in the Spring Semester of 2002, when he became one of the final 2 candidates selected to head the African American Studies Program at the University of Houston. He was introduced to those of us that were students at the time, so we could hear from him directly. At that point, we the students decided that he was the right person for the job. Shortly thereafter, we organized a demonstration and collected over 700 petitions that we presented to the UH Administration, letting them know that we wanted Dr. Conyers to lead the Program, so that he could help it grow into a department offering African American Studies as a major.

    The following year (my super senior year at UH), I took as many African American Studies Courses as I could and spent many hours in the African American Studies Program facility, then on the 3rd floor of Agnes Arnold, right before it moved to the 6th floor. My continual presence in that facility led me to pursue law, after meeting someone who was also visiting the facility explain to me how I could use the engineering degree I was about to receive in the field of law. I also had the pleasure of having Dr. Conyers as a Professor in his seminar course during the spring of 2003, and during the summer of 2003 I was one of the five students that went on the programs inaugural trip to Ghana (still one of the best and most eye opening trips I’ve taken in my life).

    Over the years that have followed, I have enjoyed staying contact with Dr. Conyers. Me keeping up with how the program to department journey was going and him keeping up with how my law practice was coming along. Upon his request, I came back numerous times to speak to the students who were interested in law. I also enjoyed attending the banquet put on by the program on more than one occasion and was honored to receive one of the alumni awards in 2016.

    My wife recently reminded me how many positive things I’ve said about him over the years and how he always had great things to say about me when she spoke with him. Even when I reflect to the manner of how I’ve treated my students as a Professor over the years, I see the influence of Dr. Conyers in the way that I have tried to help get them connected to the right people for their future success.

    To say that I will miss Dr. Conyers is an understatement. His presence in my life has helped change the trajectory in a positive manner and he will remain in my heart for as long as I live. Many condolences to his family, as well as to those who Dr. Conyers has also influenced for the better over the years.

    Danyahel (Danny) Norris
  18. My sincere condolences to the Conyers family. I am wounded by the untimely and sudden passing of my dear friend and colleague, Naazir. He was a great man, father, husband and scholar-a shining example in every sense. He defined Rennaisance Man for sociology and Africana studies. I remember the first time I met him. He was receiving an award for outstanding graduate work. In his acceptance speech, he became emotional as he dedicated his achievement to his wife who could not attend the ceremony; They were young parents who could not afford two plane tickets. How outstanding, I thought. Such an exceptional young brother, the little brother I never had. Jackie was the rock but I always told him how proud I was of him as a model single parent who raised exceptional men in his image. Sekou and Kamau, there is nothing I would not do for you in honor of your father. In addition, he invited me to numerous academic events/workshops and included me as a contributor in his many scholarly pursuits. I can hear him saying, “How’s the family? You good?” Rest in Peace Naazir….I surely miss you, but I know you are good.

    Dr. Shawn Donaldson
  19. I am saddened by the passing of my first cousin. His mother and my father were siblings. We both grew up in Jersey City. I was and am extremely proud of the man he became and the devoted father he was. His legacy will live on forever. I will pray for strength for his sons.

    Lenny Dingle
  20. Dr. Conyers helped me forge a belief in myself in academics and so much more. May he rest in peace.

    Dr. Tyrie L. Fant
  21. I’m saddened to learn this news. After Jim left Omaha
    we collaborated and talked by phone. He and the
    important work will be missed.

    Jeremy Lipschultz

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