Grandsons James and William Roberts hold street sign at corner Credit: Bill Moore photo

Harlem recently held a street co-naming of West 122nd Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Mount Morris Park West as “Bishop James P. Roberts Sr. Way.”

James P. Roberts Sr. was born on the island of Antigua on Dec. 21, 1901. During James’ early years, his father migrated to Panama to work on the construction of the Panama Canal, like many British West Indian migrant workers at the time, and never returned to his homeland of Antigua. Margaret Roberts, James’ mother, raised him and his sister as a single parent, instilling in them a commitment to serving.

Young James Roberts immigrated to the United States and settled in Harlem, New York, where he worked as an elevator operator in a commercial building. He became a member of the Holy Cross Cathedral Orthodox Church and at night pursued a degree in theological studies. He later became a postulant in the Endich Theological Seminary under the tutelage of his Eminence Georg Alexander McGuire. Upon completion of his theological training, he was admitted to the Holy Orders as a bishop. A campaign began to honor the popular bishop. “Therefore be it resolved that Manhattan Community Board 10 wishes to remember Bishop James P. Roberts Sr. by formally requesting that the New York City Council and the Mayor of New York City enact legislation to support the co-naming of West 122nd Street between Malcolm X Boulevard and Mount Morris Park West to ‘Bishop James P. Roberts Sr. Way’ on March 4, 2020 by a vote of 24 yes, 0 no, 0 abstentions, and 0 recusals.

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