After completing his undergraduate studies at Clark College in Atlanta, GA, James Felder served in the United States Army’s Honor Guard Ceremonial Unit in Washington, DC. This honor was bestowed upon him as one of only ten Black Americans to serve in this prestigious group.

The year 1963 witnessed significant racial upheaval, but, as the holiday season approached, the most astonishing event of that year was yet to unfold, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy while James Felder was the senior service member in charge of burials at Arlington National Cemetery.