James Comer was born during the depression in 1934. Because his father was still working, the family didn’t feel it that much because his parents had saved from the time they had gotten married, his parents had a little nest egg ready. Later his brother, Norman, was born then Charles, and Thelma who became the youngest after Ralph, the baby died at birth.
During Jim’s childhood, the children were raised the way in which his mother watched the white folks she had worked for. “I had worked for people that knew what this was all about. I had watched the doctors. I worked were there were nurses. I had helped to take care of their babies. The way I had helped to care for wealthier babies was the way I wanted my babies taken care of.”
Jim and his brothers and sister grew and matured in this loving environment. During his elementary, middle, and high school years, he became an excellent debater, school leader, and advocate for other Black students. Although he excelled academically, he was too small for such sports as football.
The Comer family lived and thrived in East Chicago. Later while in college, Jim’s father, Hugh Comer, became ill with asthma and had to move to Arizona for his health. Even with his father’s illness, the family carried on and took loving care of each other. Hugh Comer never lived to see his son become a world renown social psychiatrist.