Areas of expertise: civic engagement; political analysis; leadership development.
James Steele hails from Akron, Ohio. He graduated from Ohio University where he led the movement that established one of the first African American studies programs in the United States. He has extensive experience in electoral politics, governance, public policymaking, and legislative mobilization, including as deputy district director for the late Congressman Major R. Owens, legislative director for City Council Member Annette M. Robinson, and for the past 20 years, special assistant to Congressman Gregory W. Meeks. His activities include being the Brooklyn coordinator for a Community Service Society non-partisan voter registration project, a consultant with NYC Voter Assistance Commission, and an Open Society Institute community fellowship that enabled him to launch a civic participation project in collaboration with the DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy and the Center for Law and Social Justice at Medgar Evers College as well as conduct a training in democracy and government for AFSCME District Council 1707’s political action committee. He also directed a voter outreach initiative for the NYS Council of Black Elected Democrats.
Professor Steele’s association with the Murphy Institute began in 1999 as an adjunct instructor in its Labor and Civic Participation Program. He also taught courses at JSMI on Democracy and Power, Contending Forces and Ideas, Public Issues and Public Policy. He designed and continues to coordinate the Murphy Institute’s Civic Engagement and Leadership Development course, and has also contributed to its New Labor Forum publication and been a moderator and panelist at numerous forums and conferences.