James Mattocks was born January 14, 1919 in High Point, North Carolina, to Clarence B. and Amanda Richardson Mattocks. He graduated from High Point High School in 1923, from High Point College in 1938, and from Duke University Law School in 1941.
Born into a family of many generations of Quakers, Mattocks practiced his Quaker values of peace and justice throughout his life. For many years he served as chairman of the North Carolina Yearly Meeting Society of Friends (Quaker) Peach Committee and he was a long time board member of the American Friends Service Committee.
During World War II he spent four years in Civilian Public Service as a conscientious objector serving on the Blue Ridge Parkway, at Eastern State Mental Hospital in Virginia, and as a smoke jumper with the U.S. Forest Service in Montana. During the civil rights movement, Mattocks participated in the historic march to the courthouse in Selma, Alabama, and was involved in numerous activities to promote racial justice in the High Point area. He steadfastly participated in peace vigils during the Vietnam War.
Mattocks helped establish the original legal services project in High Point and served on the board. He also assisted with the Model Cities program.
A founder of the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, Mattocks received the organization's Frank Porter Graham Award in 1984. He was a past recipient of the Brotherhood Award from the National Council of Christians and Jews. In 1985 the High Point Human Relations Commission named Jim and his wife the High Point Citizens of the Year.
James Mattocks and his wife, Edith Vance Mattocks, currently reside in Greensboro, NC.